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.

Curly Carla_small

 

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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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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Finding Me (Xtreme Bachelor) by Caylie Marcoe

finding meBlurb: People remember Nicki Montgomery as the girl who tried to win over BMX rider and Xtreme Bachelor, Travis Grayson. She was all smiles and snark, which made her the most hated girl on reality TV and the perfect choice for the first bachelorette to have her own show.

Twenty extreme athletes vying for your attention should be every girl’s dream, but all Nicki can see is that she’s being shipped off to the middle of nowhere Oklahoma and every single date includes some type of physical activity. Neither of which fit with her elite Chicago lifestyle.

The biggest problem with going on the show is Nicki doesn’t want to play the part. She doesn’t want to be hated. Everything from her smile to her perfect family life is fake and she’s sick of living the lie. All Nicki wants is for someone to see the person she really is.

When the final choice is made, Nicki has to be ready to break a few hearts to find what she needs, maybe even her own.

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5 stars

I don’t even know how to begin this review.  I may be a bit bias, I mean, did you see the dedication?   I may have cried when I read it. This book was such a breath of fresh air in a closed off room. I’m a sucker for a great love story and this one fit the bill and then some.  I LOVED it.  It’s highly original, full of witty dialogue along with some pretty steamy scenes.  And the chemistry!  ::swoon::  Dear god, she writes them so effing good.

I had a love/ hate relationship with Nicki throughout the book.  I felt how sincere she was in her want to change, not only how people saw her, but how she saw herself as well.  And we get to know Nicki on a very personal level in this book.   And it was glorious, she was such a well rounded character.  At times I found her to be a bit immature and petty making me a bit irritated and then, BAM! She would show this inner strength that just astounded me.  The author made me FEEL so many emotions with regards to her that I realized how much I had actually come to care about this character. And while I do tend to become invested in the characters of the books I read, this one will always hold a unique place in my giant book heart.

And Nicki isn’t the only one who shined in this story.  Bridget was what I would expect my BFF to say to me.  She supported Nicki throughout and gave her the tough love she needed when Nicki started to back slide into her old ways.  Cooper was….well I don’t want to ruin it for you.  😉 But suffice it to say that all the guys were distinct and memorable.  Especially…… LOL, no I could NEVER do that to you guys.  I will say the one she ends up with was NOT who I had thought it would be.

Go go forth and read it!  I promise you will not regret it.

Curly Carla_small

Most Eligible Cowboy (Peach Valley #1) by Carly Morgan

most eligible cowboyBlurb: Can an ailing man’s ultimatum be Jackson and Maya’s greatest blessing?

Amateur photographer Maya Vance needed a do over after catching her husband of eight months cheating with her best friend. Her favorite aunt Patty provides just the escape. She’s recently opened a sixty-five acre bed and breakfast in her small town called the Palace in Peach Valley and asks Maya to take pictures for her marketing brochures.

Permanently unattached Jackson Bale was supposed to take over his family’s ranch, but his ailing father won’t hand over the reins until he proves he’s ready to settle down. His father has given him sixty days to find a woman and marry her or he’ll sell the ranch to some corporate big wigs that have been after the land for years.

Within hours of his father’s ultimatum, the whole town knows. Women he hasn’t heard from since high school start coming out of the woodwork, flaunting their feminine wiles in the hope of catching Peach Valley’s most eligible cowboy.

It isn’t until he meets the vibrant Maya Vance that he thinks marriage might be a possibility. But she’s heard of the ultimatum too and wants no part of it. Jackson isn’t to be deterred. Despite his father’s wishes and the land, he knows he’s met the love of his life and will do whatever it takes to win her over.

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4 stars

This had tones of a christian romance but I don’t know that I would categorize it as one.  The romance itself was slow and I didn’t really feel the chemistry between them in all honesty.  The story itself was cute, simple and a quick read. 

I admired Jackson’s family loyalty and his openness to helping others.  He took his position as eldest very seriously and it showed in the book.  But I think in this story, Maya was the one who shined for me.  I don’t know why because Jackson had so many painful obstacles to navigate but I just didn’t connect with his character like I usually do.  Maya came across as more relatable to me I guess so I connected with her more and felt more for her. 

I felt the parental ultimatum was unnecessary and quite frankly a terrible burden to put on your eldest sons shoulders.  Especially with the heartbreak Jackson already had to endure in his love life.  Actually, I take that back. I think his parents were just just plain terrible. They tried to control a situation that is uncontrollable and attempted to use emotional blackmail and threats to get their way.  What a terrible example of a loving family IMO.  If I was in the position his father was in I would NEVER do to my kid what he did.  

While I enjoyed this story, I doubt I will be reading anymore in this series.  

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Play With Me (Grover Beach Team #1) by Piper Shelly

play with meBlurb: What if you had to do the one thing you hated most to get the guy you loved to notice you?

Ryan Hunter’s parties are legend. And tonight she’s going to be there.

Lisa Matthews anticipates the return of her best friend and only love since kindergarten from soccer camp. But when Tony finally shows up, his mind is more focused on another girl. And worse, she’s a soccer player. Fighting for the attention Lisa craves, she’s just a hairbreadth away from making a very stupid decision. But when extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures, she’s prepared to play ball to get her man.

The tryouts are hell, the first match ends bloody, and the morning after the selection party she wakes up in the worst place possible—in the arms of the captain of the soccer team. The hottest guy in school… Ryan Hunter.

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5 stars

This was a great YA story.  I loved how quickly we got to the reasons.  And how there was no long drawn out misunderstandings with regards to their feelings.  I mean, it was a little bit built up but for the most part the unrequited love wasn’t the main focus like I thought it was gonna be.  Don’t get me wrong, I do love a good unrequited love story but this one went a totally different direction and it was a nice change of pace for this genre.  

Ryan Hunter is seriously a smooth guy.  He didn’t try to pretend he didn’t care while at the same time he wasn’t like over the top about his feelings either.  When I usually read about popular guy’s in school trying to get with the girl they is usually very aggressive.  And Ryan wasn’t like that at all.  It was all just so natural, the way he treated her.  And the way he was there for her, helping her trying to get the guy without putting the moves on her.  It was nice, their chemistry felt real. 

She wasn’t in denial about her feelings either. We get to see her struggle with who she thinks she loves and her growing feelings for Ryan which made it more believable for me.   And the ending!  I did NOT see that coming.  Seriously a great novella. I’ll have to check out the others in this series as well. 

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Lick (Stage Dive #1) by Kylie Scott

lickBlurb: Waking up in Vegas was never meant to be like this.

Evelyn Thomas’s plans for celebrating her twenty-first birthday in Las Vegas were big. Huge. But she sure never meant to wake up on the bathroom floor with a hangover to rival the black plague, a very attractive half-naked tattooed man in her room, and a diamond on her finger large enough to scare King Kong. Now if she could just remember how it all happened.

One thing is certain, being married to one of the hottest rock stars on the planet is sure to be a wild ride.

 

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5 stars

Dude!  I don’t know why but I loved this story!  Drunken marriage in Vegas doesn’t usually appeal to me but for some reasons these characters called out to me is a visceral way.  I believed it.  Their wanting to work out the marriage. It was odd that I felt this way because I was never one to dive head first into a nearly insta-love book.  But I loved it.

David was the tortured artist. Very classic character, and I really enjoyed watching his struggle with knowing his wife didn’t remember them getting married.  He seemed truly upset. I will say that his emotional immaturity got on my nerves a bit, but he seemed to be aware of it and actively trying to resolve his issues.  I liked how they got to know each other while not putting their very real chemistry on hold.  That was one of the good parts of their story, kinda just going with how they felt.  She was a little bit country, and he a little bit rock and roll.  And it fit.

I liked the fact that Evelyn didn’t remember getting married to him but still realized that there was something there worth trying for.  Most people would chalk that shit up to alcohol, but Ev felt for this person even though she didn’t remember him.  She felt bad for inadvertently hurting his feelings with her memory loss.  And she wanted to make sure he knew that it wasn’t intentional and she would try to not do it in the future.

And can I just say that while angry sex isn’t a turn on in the least, this author wrote it so well that I enjoyed reading about it.  The climax was trope but again, it just seemed to fit.  And I loved how slowly they got to know each other.  It made everything seem more realistic.  I am definitely going to be reading more in this series.

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Dirty Little Mistake (Dirty #2) by Amber Rides

dirty little mistakeBlurb: At eighteen, Brenna Cooper turned her back on her boyfriend-hopping, drug-addicted mother. She fought her way from poverty and heartache into a life she’s proud to lead. Now twenty-two, Brenna has four years of hard work behind her and a bright future ahead of her. She’s careful and cautious and keeps her nose clean. Always. Or almost always anyway.

Five weeks ago, Brenna received some news that hit her hard and she slipped from the straight-and-narrow path.

It was just one mistake.
One party.
One too many shots of tequila.
One little one-night stand with her muscle-for-brains neighbor, Ian.
And it’s behind her.

Or it would be if it weren’t for the teeny, tiny matter of the positive pregnancy test.

Now, Brenna is terrified of following in her mother’s footsteps. She needs to tell Ian about the baby. Soon. And she needs help finding a way to do it.

Ridley James has a shady, crappy decision filled past. He’s the first to admit that the ages of thirteen to seventeen were nothing to be proud of. He bounced from foster home to foster home, girl to girl, and fake I.D. to fake I.D. Five years ago, though, his terminally ill aunt took him in and helped him turn his life around. Before she died, she made him promise a few things. Ridley would stay on the clean path she’d led him to. He’d stay out of trouble. Most importantly, though, he’d look out for her son – his cousin – Ian.

He was doing well.
Until he and Ian moved into his new house a month and half ago and they met his pretty, sweet – and drunk – neighbor.

Ridley knows his only choice is to pretend Brenna has no effect on him. Especially since she came flying out of Ian’s room the morning after their housewarming party, begging him to forget he ever saw her.

He was doing fine with that, too.
Until Brenna came asking for his help – in becoming Ian’s girlfriend.

Now, Ridley is trying to keep his hands and his feelings to himself, struggling to understand why a girl like Brenna is interested in his cousin at all, and fighting to keep his promises to his aunt.

The closer Brenna gets to Ridley, the farther she gets from making her confession to Ian. The more Ridley gets to know Brenna, the less control he has.

Both are keeping secrets. And neither is prepared for the truth.

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5 stars

Even with the unbelievably of the intentional misunderstandings going on ALL over this book for suspenseful purposes, I really loved it.  The author would throw in those deliberate misunderstandings and I would get ready to throw the book, then….she would retreat just a smidgen, giving me a taste of the romance I so wanted to see.  Thereby pulling my attention back in and making me want to finish the book.  

Well played Amber Rides, well played indeed.  

Brenna was so young and naive.  I felt great pity for her, and not in a good way.  I mean, it was expected she had no idea what she was doing since she had no mother figure in her life to teach her, but I don’t think she gave the other people in her life enough credit personally.  She made up for her lack of knowledge in these types of situations by giving in to her uhm…baser desires.  She was a super cute horn dog trying to force a square peg in a round hole and she failed, quite hilariously.  The dialogue in this book is fricking fantastic by the way. And quite possibly saved me from DNF’ing this book on more than one occasion.  

Ridley, man this dude was all kinds of hotness.  Smart, vulnerable, strong, patient, understanding, loyal to his family and did I mention he bakes!  Yes, please!  He was a bit of a glutton for punishment but I’ll be damned if his weakness for helping Brenna didn’t just push right over the edge in love with him.  

I had no idea this was the second in the series and now I want to go back and read the first one.  I’m a fan and will certainly keep my eye out for more books by this author in the future.  

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Storm Gathering (Scorpius Syndrome #4) by Rebecca Zanetti

Storm GatheringBlurb: Even before surviving the Scorpius bacterium, Greyson Storm was a lone wolf navigating minefields. As a kid, he learned to take a hit and find safety. As an adult, he joined the military and quickly learned how to protect and defend. When the world ended, he created a mercenary camp with military precision, no entanglements, and a promise to avenge a fallen friend. As part of that vow, he kidnapped Maureen Shadow, but now that he has let her go, her blue eyes and intriguing mind keep haunting him…

As possibly the only Biotechnology Engineer still living, Maureen Shadow might be humanity’s one hope to survive the aftermath of Scorpius, making her frighteningly valuable to both allies and enemies. Even after sexual tension explodes with Greyson, she’s not sure which camp he belongs to—friend or foe? Worse yet, survival may mean thwarting his prime mission, putting her in even more peril. When danger and seduction collide, there is no safety in this new world. 

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Favorite Quotes

She really didn’t know him, but there was something honorable about letting a friend die in peace and then keeping a promise. Man, life had changed when hunting and killing made sense to a scientist like her. So much for holding out for a nice and peaceful, geeky guy.

Miss Julian gave me a foundation, but I was still damaged. Even when I found brothers in the military.” Greyson captured Moe’s chin between his thumb and forefinger. “With you, I feel whole. Like there’s hope somehow. I forgot that it even existed. In the apocalypse, you gave me hope.

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5 stars

I think this is my favorite book in this series so far.  Greyson is this ‘still waters run deep’ kinda guy.  And RZ gives him more depth than her previous male characters I think.  Or it might be that the stakes have risen so high in this series that it just seems that way. Either way, he’s my favorite.  His attention to detail in every aspect of his life is quite appealing to me.  His struggles keeping his group safe  while attempting to maintain a  precarious truce with other groups in the area was pretty impressive.  

And while I can’t say I felt the same for Maureen AKA Mo, I can still admire her spunk when it comes to being in between what she thinks is right and moral in a world where very little of that exist anymore.  She is faced with tough decisions about where her loyalties lie.  Rather than choosing which side she is on, she sees the big picture, and somehow convinces others to move past their individual agendas toward a more common goal.  And in the end I came to really like her gentleness and problem solving demeanor.  

One of the best things about this series is the fact that while I’m generally on the fence with alpha males,  but their reasoning for becoming possessive, dominant figures is written wonderfully.  Yes they are possessive, yes they are dominant and at times come off as chauvinistic.  But the post apocalyptic world doesn’t run on morals and vulnerability.  Those things can get you killed quickly and they know that while they have to be these hard men, they can also be vulnerable.  But only to those special people in their lives that they trust. It’s a constant push and pull between seemingly opposite views.  But RZ balances both traits in these men that makes them so attractive to me as to not even care about the alpha-ness that resides in them.  

That’s a unique talent in my opinion.  So go get you this series.  It is AWESOME. 

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Hanover House (The Evelyn Talbot Chronicles 0.5) by Brenda Novak

25394138Blurb: Welcome to Hanover House….

Psychiatrist Evelyn Talbot has dedicated her life to solving the mysteries of the antisocial mind. Why do psychopaths act as they do? How do they come to be? Why don’t they feel any remorse for the suffering they cause? And are there better ways of spotting and stopping them?

After having been kidnapped, tortured and left for dead when she was just a teenager—by her high school boyfriend—she’s determined to understand how someone she trusted so much could turn on her. So she’s established a revolutionary new medical health center in the remote town of Hilltop, Alaska, where she studies the worst of the worst.

But not everyone in Hilltop is excited to have Hanover House and its many serial killers in the area. Alaskan State Trooper, Sergeant Amarok, is one of them. And yet he can’t help feeling bad about what Evelyn has been through. He’s even attracted to her. Which is partly why he worries.

He knows what could happen if only one little thing goes wrong…

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3 stars

I expected more from this author.  I was a huge fan of A Matter of Grave Concern but this one wasn’t really anything like that. The writing style was a bit darker and had less romantic.  And I didn’t really see where the story was going.  It seemed like the story didn’t really climax but more of kinda just puttered around.

It was kind of a mix between violence and attraction, an odd combo for me to get into.  In fact I got a bit scared while reading it, especially at night.  I don’t think I will be reading any more in this series.  I found myself not really caring about Evelyn so I wasn’t really invested in her well-being. Gosh, its like I’m dead inside.  I was very into the romance though.

Amarok was all kinds of hotness with his protective instincts and forwardness.  I particularly enjoyed how he was sensitive to her past and didn’t really push her into a sexual relationship.  It kinda simmered for a while. I was disappointed that didn’t come to fruition in this story but I’m comforted by the fact it was headed in that direction and so am satisfied with not reading anymore.

I’m sure I’ll read more of this author just not in this series.

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The Unforgettables by G.L. Tomas

32048502Blurb: Back home in Chicago, Paul Hiroshima had it all.

Popularity, charming looks and a talent for the arts that made him admired by his peers. Moving to Portland, Maine the summer before his senior year was going to change all that. With his city life behind him, there was definitely no reason to make the best out of a bad situation—that is, until he meets the amazing Felicia Abelard.

Over a love of comic books and secret identities, Felicia becomes the sidekick to his hero; there’s just one problem: they weren’t supposed to fall in love.

As the season comes to an end, Paul and Felicia face in-depth challenges to preserve their summer formed bond. With the brink of the new school year at hand, this tale of best friends and first loves will make this year unforgettable.

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5 stars

I Floved this book!  It had all the ingredients for a fantastic YA diverse romantic read.

At first I wasn’t really digging it.  It started off a bit slow and jumped around quite a bit.  And the sex scene was quite awkward for me to read honestly.  But then I realized that that’s exactly how high school was.  So it started to make sense the more I read.

Paul was a pretty easy going character and I could relate to his being the new kid in school. I went to eight different schools growing up so I could totally get his feelings of homesickness.  His background was pretty cool too.  He was a half Japanese/half white Buddhist that could dance like nobodies business.  The author really gave him dimension and layers.  And his family wasn’t a background prop either.  YA’s are notorious for sticking the parents and siblings in the corner but not with this one and for that I am glad.  They even addressed how different they are treated and how they handled it.

While Paul was easy going, Felicia was a bit uptight.  She was what one would call a loner.  Not really something I can relate to but that didn’t take away from how much I ended up loving her.  I liked how she wasn’t afraid to stand up to the people who bullied her, even to her detriment.  And I dug her nerdiness!  Their mutual love of comic books is what initially brings them together.  And the fact they were neighbors.  Felicia was a Haitian american with very strict parents.  And she struggles between wanting to fit in and pretending she doesn’t care.

Their story is fast-paced and turbulent.  And I loved every second of it.  Highly recommended.

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