Chance of a Lifetime by Marissa Clarke

Blurb:
26136108Sometimes the biggest risk is playing it safe…

Gen Richards is tired of living down to her family’s expectation of the helpless blind girl. Resurrecting her high-school bucket list that begins with “kiss a total stranger” seems just the thing until she finds herself in a panty-melting lip lock with her big brother’s best friend.

Chance Anderson thrives on adrenaline, but Genny’s the one risk he’s not willing to take. His recklessness a decade ago landed her in the hospital and ejected him from her life. He’s bad for her and everyone knows it—especially her big brother.

Chance reluctantly helps Gen complete her bucket list in order to keep her out of trouble. Running through a freezing fountain, playing Spin the Bottle while fending off a mad horde of stinging insects, and skinny dipping with homicidal attack swans don’t hold a candle to the real danger: falling for the one person he can never have.

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My Review:
4.5 stars — SQUEEEEEE!!!!  This was totally my kind of book!!!  I loved the characters, I loved the chemistry, I loved the steaminess!!  It just totally worked for me.

I actually put it higher on the reading queue b/c it fit for a Diversity Challenge theme this month, and I absolutely LOVED what Gen being blind added to the story.  It felt really authentic, and I couldn’t help but wonder how Ms. Clarke managed that…  I was just so immersed!  All the descriptions of sounds and smells and the feeling of things just really added to the authenticity.  AND OMG I grew frustrated not being able to “see” things that were happening when we were in her POV!  Isn’t that crazy??  There was this one scene at the beach house where they walk into a discussion between Chance’s brothers and Claire, and I just wanted to see their body language and facial expressions!  It felt like it really gave me great insight into the life of a blind person…at least, to a certain extent.  So well done on the diversity front.

As I said, I loved both characters, and I loved the growth I saw with each of them throughout the story, but especially at the end.  I appreciated each perspective on how the climax would play out, but I also appreciated what they wanted from the other…and that they each found their way to the middle and each other.  I love it when a book really satisfies that for me.

I loved Gen’s sassiness and sense of adventure, and I really appreciated her journey.  But the star for me was Chance.  I loved his caring nature, and how much empathy he had.

I loved the two of them together most of all though!  They were fun and sassy and the banter was great!  I loved the way they loved each other, and how that love persisted through time and heartache.  And their chemistry was fantastic!!  Like, I can’t tell you the number of times I got huge tummy tingles!!

Honestly, the only part that has me not going full 5 is the resolution with Walter.  Walter felt almost borderline emotionally abusive, and either he should have been toned down, or there should have been more there…because that all was not cool.

So yeah.  I devoured it.  It was good stuff.  Definitely recommend!

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Finding Your Feet by Cass Lennox

Blurb:
31567740A Toronto Connections Novel

While on holiday in Toronto, Evie Whitmore planned to sightsee and meet other asexuals, not audition for a dance competition. Now she’s representing Toronto’s newest queer dance studio, despite never having danced before. Not only does she have to spend hours learning her routine, she has to do it with one of the grumpiest men she’s ever met. Tyler turns out to be more than a dedicated dancer, though — he might be the kind of man who can sweep her off her feet, literally and figuratively.

Tyler Davis has spent the last year recovering from an emotionally abusive relationship. So he doesn’t need to be pushed into a rushed routine for a dumb competition. Ticking major representation boxes for being trans and biracial isn’t why he went into dance. But Evie turns out to be a dream student. In fact, she helps him remember just how good partnering can be, in all senses of the word. Teaching her the routine, however, raises ghosts for him, ones he’s not sure he can handle.

Plans change, and people change with them. Learning a few steps is one thing; learning to trust again is another entirely.

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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.

As is hinted at in the blurb, trigger warnings for descriptions of emotional/transphobic abuse and the aftermath.  Not being trans, nor having experienced emotional abuse, I cannot speak to how that is handled.  From an outsider perspective, I thought it was fine, but I’ve seen reviews from abuse survivors that suggest otherwise, so perhaps read those and decide for yourself.

I was attracted to this book for several reasons.  First, it’s a cornucopia of diversity…and not only that, but it has LGBT+ characters of the lesser explored variety, so I was intrigued.  Especially with Evie, as I identify on the gray spectrum.  I even chose to read it this month because one of my diversity challenge themes is intersectionality, and since Tyler is trans and biracial it totally fits.  Second, and this cannot be understated enough, I LOVE dance books.  I’m not a dancer myself, I’m just constantly in awe of the dance community, which I feel is the perfect marriage between athletics and art…both of which I do not excel in.  😛  And third, it’s set in Canada!!  I love reading books set in my country, so that definitely played a factor.  And honestly, on the whole I was fulfilled!  I wasn’t blown away or anything, but it satisfied my desire for diversity, dance, and Canadianism!

Like I said, I cannot speak to the realistic representation of Tyler as a trans character, but I felt like the author explored some of the challenges of being a transgendered man, and the horrible experience of transphobic/emotional abuse.  I will admit that while I appreciated some of the observations Tyler had in his journey, this was not a great example of someone healing from an abusive relationship.  It was kind of glossed over and shallow, so if that’s what you’re looking for, you’re in the wrong place.  This book was more about the relationship between Tyler and Evie, with Tyler’s fears used mostly as a roadblock to that relationship.  So more heavy on the romance, less on depth of an emotional journey.  That was fine for me, but may not work for everyone.  In general I liked Tyler, but I felt like his character could be a bit inconsistent.  And since we didn’t really get to see in depth healing, the constant roadblock from the aftermath of his ex became a bit overused without satisfying growth and change.

I really loved Evie’s character, and her representation for the gray spectrum.  I realize not everyone will appreciate it if they’re looking for the quintessential asexual character, which she is not.  But as someone elsewhere on the spectrum, I was super excited to see a character very much like me represented, as the gray spectrum really is vast.  We got to see her fall in love with different things about Tyler that had nothing to do with sexual attraction.  Ace stuff aside, I thought she was really funny, forthright, and a good mix of sweet and sass.

I loved that we got a good amount of dancing as well…it satisfied my wannabe dancer’s heart.  And watching Tyler and Evie crush and flirt with each other while dancing was the highlight of this book for me.

On the not so good side of things, there were a lot of little threads left hanging and not dealt with…I don’t understand why an author would introduce something and leave it unresolved.  The biggest was Evie’s relationship with her mother.  It was constantly in the background through emails, and quite frankly it was kind of toxic.  But we never see the resolution in that relationship.  Perhaps if we were told she had a bad relationship, that she couldn’t come out to her family, but left it at that, I would have been OK having it glossed over at the end.  But to see the quietly toxic relationship consistently in the background, complete with fat-shaming remarks, and to then see no resolution was unsatisfying.

I was also really unimpressed with Gigi in this story…he made fat-shaming remarks of his own that made me uncomfortable, and he was really allowed to be fairly mean throughout the story without consequences.  And I wasn’t impressed with his side story, especially if he’s going to get a book of his own.  I would have liked more Tyler/Evie time.

And quite frankly, none of the friendships were super awesome.  They could have good qualities, but there was a level of care missing at times…just a lot of meddling without thinking of consequences.

There were a lot of terms used in this book that went unexplained…from the tumblr things Evie and Sarah connected with, to dance terms, to whatever fujoshi is (still need to Google that).  And it took me a bit to figure out that Bailey is nonbinary, and that when the author used they/them they were just talking about Bailey, and not Bailey and Sarah or something.  I liked having another lesser explored LGBT+ character represented, but it was too bad that it took me so long to understand that.

So yeah.  Like I said, not blown away, but still enjoyed myself (rounding up for the dance aspect alone).  It wasn’t a book I gobbled up, but it did have some great aspects that I personally really enjoyed!  As an aside, am I the only Canadian that doesn’t actually consume a lot of maple syrup?

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Stacking the Shelves — October 28th, 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!

Lenore: You guys, I haven’t done one of these since the end of September, b/c between Thanksgiving and a trip to NYC I’ve been swamped.  So this is likely going to be LONG.  Four weeks worth long.  And I’m not even going to include the paperbacks I got from the Big Apple Author Event.

Curly Carla’s Haul

(All Ebooks unless otherwise specified)

NetGalley ARC Requests Approved:

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  • Hooking Up by Helena Hunting from Swerve (St. Martin’s Press) — releases November 7th, 2017. Lenore let me know when this was up for grabs on netgalley, and I got it! I’m a huge fan of HH so of course I had to read this! And it didn’t disappoint, my review will be up soon.
  • Something in the Way (Something in the Way #1) by Jessica Hawkins from the author — released February 27th, 2017. I’m also a big fan of JH. And Lenore reminded me when this was available on netgalley. I really don’t deserve her. But I’m not giving her up so don’t let her know I said that. 😉

New Releases:

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  • Finding Me (Xtreme Bachelor #2) by Caylie Marcoe — released October 18th, 2017.  I had the immense pleasure of alpha and beta reading this book. It’s pretty fantastic. And I Flove the cover!  Read my review here.
  • Shattered Stars (Broken Skies #3) by Theresa Kay — released October 26th, 2017. I was lucky enough to alpha and beta read this one too! I have been waiting pretty patiently for this one to come out for a while. It was worth the wait!

Books I Purchased:

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  • Beard in Mind (The Winston Brothers #4) by Penny Reid — I think I may have read all PR’s books, I’d have to double check though. Anyway, I didn’t know this was even out yet, so I had to remedy the fact that I didn’t own it.

Got It On Sale:

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  • Fatal Trust by Diana Miller — It looked good when I read the blurb, I was looking for something Halloweenie, plus it was free at the time so I figured, what have I got to lose?
  • The Bohemian and the Businessman (The Story Sisters #1) — I think this went on sale a while back and I have read some of her other books and enjoyed them so yeah, a no brainer really.
  • A Christmas Homecoming (Bar V5 Dude Ranch #5) by Melissa McClone. I was looking for some books for a Xmas reading challenge that is being hosted by Just Another Girl And Her Books (in association with Caroline Andrus ~ Blogger/Author) called The 12 books of Christmas challenge. Which you can sign up for here.  #12booksofchristmas . Hot damn that’s a lot of links!

Lenoreo’s Haul

(All Ebooks unless otherwise specified)

NetGalley ARC Requests Approved:

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  • Nailed It by Cindi Madsen from Entangled: Amara (Entangled Publishing LLC) — released October 23rd, 2017.  I’ve already read this book, and unfortunately it was only OK for me (see my review here).
  • ‘Tis the Season Bundle by Aimee Carson, Amy Andrews, Heidi Rice, and Kate Hardy from Entangled: Indulgence (Entangled Publishing LLC) — released December 9th, 2013.  This is an older release, but I’m always looking for more Christmas reads (especially for my 12 Books of Christmas Challenge).
  • Hooking Up by Helena Hunting from Swerve (St. Martin’s Press) — releases November 7th, 2017.  I’m not sure if these books are related at all, other than in style, but Curly Carla loved Ms. Hunting’s Shacking Up (see her review here), so when I saw this for request (and knowing this author will be at both Apollycon 2018 and Book Bonanza), I went for it.
  • Fake Wife by Stacey Lynn from Loveswept (Random House Publishing Group – Loveswept) — releases January 9th, 2018.  What can I say?  I love fake relationship romances.
  • Van (Cold Fury Hockey #9) by Sawyer Bennett from Loveswept (Random House Publishing Group – Loveswept) — releases November 28th, 2017.  I’ve read the sixth book in this series (read my review for Max) and really enjoyed it, so I wanted to check out another book in this world.  Also, this author will be attending Book Bonanza…though since these books are digital only, that will probably just frustrate me if I love it.
  • Bad Princess by Julianna Keyes from the author — releases November 27th, 2017.  This just sounds awesome…I love royalty stories.
  • Merrily in Love (The Littleton Brothers #3) by Melissa West from Lyrical Shine (Kensington Books) — releases November 7th, 2017.  Another book for my 12 Books of Christmas Challenge.
  • The First Kiss Hypothesis by Christina Mandelski from Entangled: Crush (Entangled Publishing LLC) — releases November 7th, 2017.  Love this line by Entangled.  And always love friends to lovers stories.
  • Offsetting Penalties by Ally Mathews from Entangled: Crush (Entangled Publishing LLC) — releases November 7th, 2017.  A football player taking ballet??  YES PLEASE!

NetGalley ARC Widgets Offered (and Taken):

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  • Dance With Me (Dance Off #2) by Alexis Daria from Swerve (St. Martin’s Press) — releases December 12th, 2017.  I recently read the first book in this series (read my review for Take the Lead) and enjoyed it.  So when I was offered a widget for this book, I said yes please!

ARCs from Authors/PR Companies:

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  • Bountiful (True North #4) by Sarina Bowen — released October 20th, 2017.  I LOVED this book (read my review here), and LOVED Dave Beringer.  I even tried to find him when I was in Brooklyn, but alas, no luck.  This could have also gone under the next heading, b/c I did preorder it as well.
  • The Perfect Couple (Passion, Vows & Babies Kindle Worlds Novella) by Ginger Scott — released October 18th, 2017.  This was a surprise release, so I haven’t had a chance to read it yet!  But I’m really looking forward to it.

Preorders That Went Live:

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  • The Princess and the Pizza Man (Destined for Love: Mansions) by Cassie Mae — released October 3rd, 2017.  This one was so cute!  Read my review here.
  • Hung Up on Hadley (Red Maple Falls #5) by Theresa Paolo — released October 10th, 2017.  I’ve been collecting this series, especially because this author often has preorder/release day sales!  I just need to find the time to get started!

New Releases:

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  • Unloved by Katy Regnery — released October 8th, 2017.  I ADORED this book you guys.  Like LOVED it.  You can read my review here.  So of course I had to get the final copy.
  • Strike Out (Barlow Sisters #2) by Jordan Ford — released October 20th, 2017.  I beta read this baby!!  LOVE Max and Cairo!  Of course I haven’t written my review yet.  Whoops.  I’m getting really bad at this in my later beta reading years.
  • Finding Me (Xtreme Bachelor #2) by Caylie Marcoe — released October 18th, 2017.  See?  Another amazing book I beta read but have yet to write a review for.  You guys, it’s an epidemic.  But this book is SO F-ING GOOD, go buy it now!!
  • Shattered Stars (Broken Skies #3) by Theresa Kay — released October 26th, 2017.  If you guessed I beta read this one too, you would be correct!!  And yet again, no review to show for it!  *sigh*  But trust me when I say this trilogy conclusion was all that and a bag of chips, and is hands down my favourite dystopian/sci-fi series of all time.

Had To Get The Next In The Series:

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  • Cuff Me (New York’s Finest #3) by Lauren Layne — While I had the paperback of this book already, I rarely read paperbacks anymore.  And since I wanted to read this before the Big Apple Author Event I just attended a few weeks ago, I sucked it up and bought the Kindle version.  Luckily it was a hit for me, read my review here.

Got It On Sale:

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  • Damaged Like Us (Like Us #1) by Krista & Becca Ritchie — I’ve read a few books in the series this is a spin off of, so when I got an eReaderIQ alert that this book was on sale for $1.60 from its usual $3.99 I snagged it!  Still on sale!
  • Dating-ish (Knitting in the City #6) by Penny Reid — I’m always on the look out for Penny Reid sales, so when I got an eReaderIQ alert that this book was on sale for $1.99 from its usual $5.99, I grabbed it quick!  And good thing, b/c that was a quickie sale (ie it’s over).  I’ve met her twice already, but I’m going to try to read this before my next opportunity to meet her at Apollycon 2018.
  • The Kidnapped Christmas Bride (Taming of the Sheehans #3, A Marietta Christmas #5) by Jane Porter — Saw this one on BookBub for free from its usual $3.99, and figured I’d add to my Christmas book collection.  Still on sale!
  • Say Yes (Bound to be Naughty) by J.R. Gray — I was cleaning up my wishlist, and I’d had this one on there from when I read Curly Carla’s review here.  But then it disappeared from Amazon for awhile.  It’s back now!  Technically I don’t know if this one is on sale for 99 cents, or if that’s it’s always price, but I stick it in this section anyways.
  • The Proposing Kind (Brew Ha Ha #4) by Bria Quinlan — I’ve only read one book in this series, but I love Ms. Quinlan’s books, so when I got an eReaderIQ alert that this book was on sale for $2.20 from its usual $3.99, I snatched it up!  Still on sale!
  • Falling for Colton (Falling #5) by Jasinda Wilder — I loved the first book in this series, and I believe this is a prequel of sorts.  So when I got an eReaderIQ alert that this book was on sale for free from its usual $4.99 I snagged it!  Still free!
  • Sacked (Gridiron #1) by Jen Frederick — This author will be attending Apollycon 2018, and I’ve read some great reviews for this book by bloggers I follow, so I put it on my wishlist.  So when I got an eReaderIQ alert that this book was on sale for 99 cents from its usual $3.99 I one-clicked!  Alas, sale is over.
  • Bedmates (American Royalty #1) by Nichole Chase — I really enjoy this author, and have wanted to read this book for FOREVER!  But since it was traditionally published, and whomever has the Canadian rights decided the Kindle version should be $10 (instead of the $4.99 for the US), I wishlisted and held off.  And it’s been so frustrating, b/c every time it went on sale, it wouldn’t be for me in Canada.  So when I got another eReaderIQ alert that this book was on sale for $1.99 from its usual “$4.99”, I scoffed…but this ONE TIME it was for me too!!  And I’m so excited, b/c this author is attending both Apollycon 2018 and Book Bonanza, so I can’t wait to read this in the next few months!  No longer on sale (for me, or for US).
  • Bound by the Past (Clandestine #1, Lowell High School #1) by Mari Carr — I read this book awhile ago and really enjoyed it, but I can’t remember how I got it originally.  It was republished recently and I wishlisted it (I don’t remember why), so when I got an eReaderIQ alert that this book was on sale for free from its usual $4.99 I snagged it.  No longer on sale.
  • The Touch (The Cotiere Chronicles #2) by Michelle Bolanger — I have the paperback of this book but, as I’ve said, I just don’t read them…so I wishlisted the kindle version.  But I kept missing the sales!  So when I got an eReaderIQ alert that this book was on sale for 99 cents from its usual $3.99 I snagged it!  Still on sale!  And if you need to be convinced, read Curly Carla’s review here.
  • Cross Check (Bayard Hockey #2) by Kelly Jamieson — I read and really enjoyed a NetGalley ARC of this book (read my review here).  So when I saw this one on BookBub for $1.99 from its usual $4.99, I added it to my collection!  No longer on sale.
  • Justice Buried (Starbright #1) by Hilary Thompson — Curly Carla shared this sale on the Facebook page, when it was free!  But honestly, it’s only 99 cents…so still a great deal.
  • Reach You (Second Chances #5) by Mari Carr — I tend to enjoy Ms. Carr’s books, so when I saw this one on BookBub for free from its usual $3.99, I figured why not?!  Still free!
  • Roar (Stormheart #1) by Cora Carmack — I have no idea how I knew this one was on sale.  I think I was cleaning up my eReaderIQ lists, and while this one hadn’t hit my $2 threshold and so I didn’t get a notice, knowing that it’s usually like $10 for me, when I saw it was $2.99 I snagged it.  No longer on sale.  Hoping to read this one in the next few months, because this is another author who will be attending both Apollycon 2018 and Book Bonanza.
  • Beard in Mind (Winston Brothers #4) by Penny Reid — Another new Penny Reid book wishlisted, another eReaderIQ alert about a rare/quick sale (for $1.99 from its usual $5.99)!  Glad I caught it!
  • The Christmas Secret (Marvells of Montana #2, Secrets of Cherry Lake #7) by Jeannie Watt — Saw this one on BookBub for free from its usual $2.99, and figured I’d add to my Christmas book collection.  Still free!
  • The Christmas Wedding Quilt: Let It Snow\You Better Watch Out\Nine Ladies Dancing by Emilie Richards, Janice Kay Johnson, & Sarah Mayberry — I’ve had this one wishlisted for FOREVER, because I love collecting books by Ms. Mayberry.  So when I got an eReaderIQ alert that this book was on sale for $1.99 from its usual $5+, I snagged it!  Still on sale!
  • Well Hung (Big Rock #3) by Lauren Blakely — I’ve been collecting/wishlisting this author’s books recently, partly because she’ll be at Book Bonanza, and partly because she’s popular among bloggers I follow.  So when I got an eReaderIQ alert that this book was on sale for 99 cents from its usual $4.99, I one-clicked!  Still on sale!

Shattered Stars (Broken Skies #3) by Theresa Kay

36480990Blurb: Unexpected allies. Unexpected betrayals. Unexpected abilities.

The last thing Jax Mitchell ever wanted was to be a weapon. Her abilities are unpredictable at best, but with her twin lost, there’s no one else with enough power to take on Jastren and his mental manipulations. She doesn’t have to do it alone, though. Not only can she rely on the unwavering support of Lir, Rym, and her human friends, she also ends up with help from a surprising source.

Meanwhile, her twin brother Jace—his body controlled by Jastren, and the shattered pieces of his mind locked inside—has become a monster. The struggle to hold on to what’s left of his humanity has left him weak and more confused than ever before. Every thought, every impulse, and every memory has the potential to destroy him—and everyone else around him.

The futures of both the humans and the E’rikon are on the line, but as ulterior motives and political machinations are revealed, it becomes clear that the betrayals aren’t restricted to only one species. Can Jax and Lir get everyone to work together in time to prevent the two species from destroying each other? Can Jace find some measure of redemption for all he has done? And will Jax be able to harness her powers… without losing herself in the process?

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5 stars

This story was fast paced and attention grabbing from the first page. This is not some easy plot that you can guess at the 30% point.  No, it makes you think and gasp and cry and rage!  And if you are a fan of Sci-fi like me you will appreciate not only this story but HOW it was written. It’s almost a throw back to the older authors with their deep world building and danger from multiple directions.  Such great story telling.

Jax is one of my favoritist and most memorable characters I’ve had the pleasure of reading about.  I could read about her forever.  She’s feisty, intelligent, responsible and incredibly vulnerable.  She has no qualms about fighting for what she believes in. One of the things I love about her is the fact that half the time she is playing it by ear. She has no idea how to handle everything going on around but she just doesn’t quit!  I can relate so hard to that you guys.  She is forgiving and isn’t too proud to accept help when she needs it.  I mean, yeah she can be a stubborn little shit too but the good outweighs the bad.  🙂

Lir is so understanding, like the perfect counterpart to her wildness and impulsiveness.  He grounds her when she needs it and doesn’t try to control her when she gets wild.  He just accepts her as she is and loves her.  This little alien boy has grown and matured over the course of this series. I think maybe even the most in this book TBH.  I really enjoyed this aspect of their relationship. It evolved into something we don’t often see in a Science Fiction/Dystopian.

I’m sad to see this story end, hopefully we can get a novella from her cause I need just a little it more to satisfy my love of this world and all its players.

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Totally His by Erin Nicholas

Blurb:
51bxFtoLSuLActress Sophie Birch is used to having to look out for herself. So when her theater catches fire and a big guy scoops her up into his arms to save her, she’s going to fight every step of the way. Even if he’s a cop. And really sexy. And his arms feel oh-so-good.

Finn Kelly can’t help but appreciate how good the woman in his arms looks in her sexy pink lingerie. Even if she’s currently resisting arrest.

But as the two get to know each other, they’re both surprised by the things Finn is willing to do to get closer to her. And when Sophie’s estranged father arrives in town and starts causing trouble, the stage is set for disaster…unless Finn can convince her that, for once in her life, she has someone to lean on.

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

This was a fabulous conclusion to what was a really witty, engaging, and fun series.  And no, you most certainly do not need to read the other books in the series to enjoy this story, but if you find yourself enjoying this one, trust me, the rest are just as engaging.  And what’s great is that each hero and heroine are SO DIFFERENT, but equally lovable.

My heart broke for Sophie, and how she grew up, and what she saw for her future because of her conman father.  And while sometimes it felt like her growth took a bit longer than I’d like, I did like watching her find her happiness, find her big family, and truly find love.  It was very rewarding.  And I loved seeing how she interacted with big groups, whether it was watching her direct in the theatre, or direct the Kelly family during trivia.  She entertained me.

And Finn was pretty adorable.  I really loved having a hero who was a cop who was quite honestly very different from the usual cop heroes you read so often.  He was protective, he had a very strong sense of right and wrong, but he loved so strongly.  He wasn’t seriously damaged or anything.  I’m not saying he didn’t have flaws, but you got to see him try to work through those himself.  And I just absolutely adored seeing him pursue Sophie when he decided she was the one for him, and she was worth risking broken hearts for (not just his, but his family’s).

And Sophie and Finn had fabulous chemistry…you really felt their draw to each other.  I loved the way they bantered and interacted.  They complimented each other well.

Finn’s family was hilarious and adorable.  I loved what they brought to the story, and how Finn’s Mom was an integral part of Sophie’s growth.  I wasn’t sure how I would feel about Frank, but I was satisfied how that played out.  And obviously the glimpses of Keira, Zach, Maya, and Alex were fantastic.  Actually, I wouldn’t have minded more…

So yeah.  Fun and flirty, with some feels and a super satisfying ending.

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Goodbyes and Second Chances (Bleu #1) by T.I. Lowe

goodbyes and second chancesBlurb: Some mistakes create accidental blessings.
Jillian (Jewels) Whitman lives with her mistakes and tries to move past the biggest one of her life – Dillon Bleu – Rocker and once best friend.
After saying goodbye to the lakeside trailer park of his youth, Dillon sets out to make something of himself only to discover all he needs is his Jewel. After hitting it big in the music industry, Dillon heads back to ask for a second chance.
Only… Nothing is ever as easy as it seems…
A southern tale of rags to riches where a man’s worth is ultimately found in his heart.

 

 

 

 

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5 stars

I felt this book in my bones!  And I can’t explain why. It was very soulful, and I guess I needed something like that in my life.

It was what I would definitely call a christian romance.  I loved how Dillon used bible verses in his song writing and was able to become a successful singer through it.  He never lost his roots though and struggled hard with the decisions he and Jewels made together.  It was heartbreaking at times to read.

I think I identified with Jewels a lot.  I lived in a trailer for some time when I was little and we moved around a lot. I get how she felt.  I still feel like I come from nothing myself and often wonder how I  have made it as far as I have.  I’m very fortunate in that respect.  Jewels resisted even trying to become more than her trailer park life though and that is where I got angry with her.  She gave up so many things she wanted in order to have her friends and family succeed.  It was bittersweet to read because I get why she did it but I felt she was maybe taking a penance on that wasn’t hers to bear.

There are so many things I loved about this book and I can’t really go in to them because of spoilers but if you like christian romance then this book is highly recommended to read.

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Scored by Sloane Howell

32766533Blurb: He’s a player. But she’s about to score.

Opposites really do attract* as a sassy salesgirl turns a pro athlete’s life upside down in this supercharged standalone novel of seduction from the author of Bossed.

Kelsey: My mom would tell you I’m quite the catch, but since my last boyfriend, I haven’t been dating much. Maybe it’s my rocker style or my lack of filter that intimidates the boys. So I’m pleasantly surprised when Matt Stallworth waltzes into the indie record store where I work and gives as good he gets. Turns out Matt is a professional baseball player, which should mean he’s out of my league. But if he wants to hook up with me, he’s going to have to follow my rules.

Matt: After winning my MVP award, I learned that a guy can get used to having beautiful women practically throw themselves at you everywhere you turn. But everything changes the first time I see Kelsey Martin, and something just clicks. She’s hot, snarky, and whip-smart. I’ve got to see her again. Only problem is, she sees right through all my best moves. And I’m going to have to step up my game to convince Kelsey that I’m playing for keeps.

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Netgalley

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5 stars

I really enjoyed this story.  It was everything I hoped it would be. A cute opposites attract read with some serious chemistry.  At first I was a little thrown off because there wasn’t much background on either MC but as there relationship progressed it didn’t bother me that much.

Classic case of opposites attract. I think I finished it a day.  The ending was so cute but I didn’t feel it was that much of a climax. And I didn’t understand why they waited so long to get to that point.  I felt that their communication could have a a bit better but ‘m almost positive it was a plot point so I understand why it wasn’t.  This is my first Sloane Howell book but it won’t be my last.

Kelsey didn’t really stand out to me that much as far as MC’s go.  She was a bit of a rebel and almost everything Matt wasn’t.  I didn’t think she was really that different than most girls and therefore I didn’t really become too attached to her.

Now Matt, oh he was one smooth character.  I really enjoyed his struggle with his baseball career and his relationship with Kelsey.  He was able to balance it all pretty well.  I also enjoyed their make out sessions!  Wooo!  There was some serious panty melting words going on in this book!

I received this book in exchange for an honest/unbiased review.

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The Feeling of Forever by Jamie Howard

Blurb:
33284471Juliet St. Clair has spent her life under Hollywood’s spotlight. While being America’s favorite girl next door has had its perks, having to testify against her stalker to put him behind bars certainly wasn’t one of them. But when she thinks about walking away from it all, she can’t help remembering the enormous pile of medical bills her family is drowning under. Bills that just keep on coming.

Felix Donovan had it all–stunning good looks, gorgeous women, and a spot as the drummer to a band that’s sitting pretty at the top of the charts. Until one life-altering decision left him paralyzed from the waist down. He doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry when he wins this year’s Sexiest Man award, but the one thing he immediately does is send out a Non-disclosure agreement. Hiding his condition from the public is hard as hell, but he’s not ready to face the world while he’s still struggling to accept his new reality.

Except this year’s Sexiest Woman–Juliet St. Clair–never looks at him with pity, only desire. But falling for Juliet means a permanent spot in the tabloids, a decision Felix isn’t sure he’s ready to make. And when Juliet’s stalker re-emerges from her past, Felix’s secret isn’t the only thing at stake, it could cost Juliet her life.

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My Review:
4.5 stars — OMG you guys, I was sucked into this one from the first chapter all the way to the very end of the epilogue.  I didn’t want it to end!!  And this love mostly came down to the characters.  I am in love with both Juliet and Felix!!  I tend to develop book boy crushes on a regular basis, but my girl crushes are more rare…so I adore it when it happens!!

I’ve wanted to read this book since I first saw a review on one of the blogs I follow.  I mean, a celebrity romance and the hero is paralyzed (yay diversity!)?  Sign me up!  I know that sounds silly, but I was just so intrigued!!  And this book totally lived up to the expectations I had for it…actually it surpassed those expectations.

I actually read it this month specifically for one of my diversity challenges, and it fit that bill perfectly.  We got to see some of the struggles that Felix faces (physically, with society, and most of all mentally) as he continues to learn to deal with being a paraplegic, but we also just got to have a fantastic hero who just happened to be in a wheelchair.  Kind of the epitome of a great diverse read, where the diversity does come into play, but it’s not all that the character/story is about.

And Felix was just a fantastic hero.  Definitely flawed, and my heart broke for the Felix we first meet, but then soared as we watch him get back to himself, and really grow into a better, stronger man.  And really learn all that he has to offer, and that it’s not wrapped up in whether he can physically protect Juliet.

Juliet was just EVERYTHING.  Like I said, TOTAL GIRL CRUSH.  You get a hint in the blurb that she’s not a typical celebrity, but she just isn’t a typical ANYTHING!  I fell in love with her right from the photoshoot.  She was just so down to earth and straightforward, which don’t sound like sexy qualities, but when you watch her just go after what she wants, and not accept less than she deserves, it’s just…GAH!  LOVE IT!  And she’s delightful!  So fun and knows how to embrace happiness and sunshine and light!  Obviously not all the time, she does have her own struggles, what with the stalker and all, but…I don’t know.  I just wanted to be her friend.  I wanted to know her in real life.

And the two of them together were just magic.  I loved that when they had some struggles, they weren’t typical, and they didn’t end the way I expected.  I love it when couples embrace their love and fight for each other.

There was a pretty big element of suspense/mystery to this book that I guess I kind of wasn’t expecting.  Not a bad thing, though I did figure out who the stalker was pretty early on, so it was frustrating to have Juliet and Felix not see it.  But that’s the thing about books, it’s so easy to see things when you’re on the outside looking in.

The other major coup for this book was the secondary characters.  I am in love with Gavin…I just saw that his book is next, and I cannot wait.  Actually, I can’t wait for all the band member books, and I really want to go back and read Ian and Bianca’s book RIGHT NOW, even though I have other reading priorities.  We’ll see if I last.  The band members were total stars, and I loved the friendship they had with each other.  I loved how they were with Felix too…supportive and pushing at the same time.  And while we didn’t see much of Juliet’s sister Elle, I really loved the relationship Juliet had with her, and well her whole family.

So yeah.  Totally loved this book.  The only reason it’s not full 5 is because I grew frustrated with the stalker angle.  But everything else was so amazing, I almost don’t even care.  I seriously, 100% happy sighed when I finished this book.  If that doesn’t tell you something, well…

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Nailed It by Cindi Madsen

Blurb:
36320335I’m Ivy Clarke. Bartender, best friend, and disbeliever in love.
And now I’m in over my head, trying to flip a house all by myself.
Thanks, HGTV.
I’m not too proud to admit I need some help. Too bad the only one who can help me is the same man I want to throw out this house’s second-story window.
Jackson Gamble and I can’t be in the same room together for more than a minute without devolving into a sparring match.
Except for that one time…
But enough about that. Jackson’s looking for forever, and I don’t believe in love, remember?
Get in. Renovate. Get out. Keep my heart firmly in tact.
Because it’s much easier to fix up a house than a broken heart.

Full of humor and dripping with delicious tension, Nailed It proves that every heart can be ready for a little rehabilitation, if only you’re willing to open it up.

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

Well bummer.  This one just didn’t grab me.  I didn’t dislike it, but it was solidly meh for me.  Since this book was entirely from Ivy’s POV, I found I didn’t have as much to go on for Jackson.  What I saw of him I definitely liked, but I have a feeling that I would have loved him even more if I’d had more time with him, or could have seen inside his head.

So really, all I had to go on was Ivy.  And Ivy was NOT my kind of girl.  I think I was supposed to empathize with her past and how that shaped her into the commitment-phobe she’d become.  And it worked to a point, my heart did actually break for the childhood she had, and the way her mother treated her, and how those experiences shaped her.  And if I’d seen some growth and change along the way, I might have tolerated it more.  But I just didn’t buy hers.  I don’t know why.  Honestly, it’s one of those things you just feel from reading, but can’t explain why you didn’t connect.  It’s like…I just couldn’t connect with Ivy along the story.  And when we got to the end, it felt a bit more about-face-like instead of a slow journey.  I think it’s because she clung so hard to her beliefs.  And I just got tired of it.

Along those same lines, this book became a bit repetitive at times…or at least it felt that way to me.  I felt like she would bring up the same incidences from her childhood to explain her relationship aversion.  Honestly, I wanted to start skimming just to see when she would finally figure things out.  I think I’m just not a patient reader.  Especially when I find myself unable to fully empathize with a character.

The other little thing that tweaked me that I wasn’t expecting was the level of steaminess…or something.  I don’t know how to categorize this.  See, I’ll read sweet/clean completely fade to black stories.  And I’ll read erotica.  But I don’t think I’ve read this Entangled imprint before, and this story was somewhere in between.  Like I’d get the early sexy times part, but then when we got to the act it would just be glossed over.  And not to sound like a sex-starved idiot, but it felt like a tease, because I honestly felt like it was going the more detailed way, and then just when we’d get to that part, blah blah blah, generic glossover, done.  Seriously, this is the stupidest thing to complain about, but it just caught me off guard.  There’s nothing wrong with it whatsoever, it’s just not my personal favourite.  Or else I was just in a mood.  Who knows with me.

OK, I feel like all I’ve done is complain.  In general I really enjoyed the bantering and snarkiness between Ivy and Jackson…  Sometimes it felt a bit more hostile than I was comfortable with, but other times it hit that tone just right where I was laughing my butt off, and I could really feel the chemistry between them.  I also really enjoyed the relationship that Ivy had with Savannah, and how their friendship played a role.  And again, what I saw of Jackson I really adored.  I LOVED how he stuck by her, and waited out her stubbornness, and how he saw her…both her flaws and her strengths.

So yeah.  Like I said, it wasn’t a terrible book.  I just didn’t connect with it like I’d been hoping to.  Ah well, not every book is going to be a match.

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Déjà Revu October 23rd, 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

Dystopian/Post Apocalyptic

Fantasy

Paranormal

Romance

Science Fiction

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Romance

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Contemporary

Historical

Horror

Non-Fiction

Romance