ARC Review: When He Came Back

When He Came Back by Jessica A. Briones

Publication Date: October 2015

Publisher: Jessica A. Briones


Six years ago, Claire Monroe made the biggest decision of her life. She broke up with Austin McKinley so that he would leave their small Canadian town to make it as a rock star. It was the best and the worst decision she ever made. Claire’s gone on to become a successful artist, but her heart has never really moved on.

Austin McKinley may have made it big in the music industry, but he’s far from happy. He hasn’t been truly happy since Claire Monroe broke his heart all those years ago. Now, he’s finally taking a break from music and is headed back to his hometown in Canada. But first, Austin has to stop at The King Edward Hotel in Toronto for some final interviews before his break.

When Claire and Austin run into each other in the lobby of The King Edward Hotel, neither of them is prepared to face the other — nor the feelings they still have for each other.  Can they forgive each other for the past and finally create a future together?

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

When He Came Back was a great contemporary romance not just about love but forgiveness. Both Austin and Claire had to not just forgive each other but themselves.

While I didn’t always agree with Claire’s decisions, I got them. I thought Claire was pretty lucky that Austin was as forgiving as he was. I don’t know that I would have been. I expected him to be a lot angrier a lot longer. I also was surprised at how angry Claire got at him.

Conflict aside, the romance between Austin and Claire was flaming hot. Their love for each other was tender and sweet. The sex scenes, though! The sex scenes had me fanning myself repeatedly.

The one thing that kind of threw me off about the book were the ages of the characters. They were supposed to be 23 years old. It threw me off because the characters seemed way more mature than that. I know Claire and Austin grew up quickly, but the way they spoke and responded to situations seemed a lot older. I kept picturing them as 30 year olds. Even their friends seemed older. Not that this was a huge problem or anything. I was just surprised every time their age came up.

I would When He Came Back to contemporary romance readers who love second chance romances or rock star romances. It was a fun, fast-paced romance. I would love to see a sequel with Claire’s best friend and the billionaire in it.

**I received an electronic copy of When He Came Back from the author in exchange for an honest review.


Crossroads by Thomma Lyn Grindstaff

Publication Date: August 8, 2015


Monie and Rob aren’t just high school sweethearts, they’re childhood sweethearts. They started as best buddies in sixth grade and their friendship quickly turned to love. Monie and Rob have been planning their Life Script together for years:

  1. graduate college
  2. get married
  3. go to law school
  4. start a practice
  5. have kids.

But as college graduation day draws near, Monie’s having second thoughts about the Life Script she’s followed for so long. Monie’s afraid that if she doesn’t at least try her dreams of being a guitarist, she might regret the Life Script she’s chosen — and Rob, too.

Following her dream is harder than it sounds, though. First, she has to come clean with both Rob and her parents. Then, she has to call the number for the guitarist ad she found. She knows she’s good enough to be in the band, Monie just needs to face her fears of losing Rob and the life she’s wanted since she was a child.

Can Monie have both an exciting career and the man she loves?

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Crossroads is a novel about a young woman wanting the best of both worlds. She wants her comfortable, loving relationship with the man who’s always been there with and for her. But she also wants to follow her dreams and try something completely new and exciting.

Thomma Lyn Grindstaff did an excellent job at portraying Monie’s emotions. It was very easy to relate to Monie’s confusion over the path her life should take. As much as she loved Rob, she knew following his dreams would mean losing her own. I loved that she didn’t compromise herself for him.

The one part of this story that has been stuck in my head since I finished Crossroads is Rob’s reaction to Monie wanting to be in the band. I actually felt like I could relate to Rob even more than Monie. I mean, why would Rob want Monie to join a band and potentially leave him? Why would he want to her be around a band full of guys she will probably have chemistry with? His frustrations made total sense to me.

So, while I loved that Monie was going to follow her dreams, I hated the position she put Rob in. At first, I thought he was being a jerk. As the story progressed, I started to agree with him. The doubts he shared had me questioning the ending of the story. I also felt like the troubles they were having would have resulted in more tears and emotion than Monie was having. I started to wonder if she really did want to save her relationship. I would have been distracted from finals and losing it.

Crossroads was nicely wrapped up, but it was missing a little something for me. I don’t want to give away the story, so I’ll just say it’s the reaction Rob didn’t have toward a big something toward the end that I didn’t get. Honestly, I see more trouble on the horizon for Rob and Monie. I would be interested in seeing where their story goes from here.

I would recommend Crossroads to New Adult readers who enjoy steamy coming of age stories.

**Thank you to Thomma Lyn Grindstaff for the opportunity to read and honestly review Crossroads.

My Life with the Walter Boys

My Life with the Walter Boys by Ali Novak

Publication Date: March 1, 2014

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire


Jackie Howard thought the worst was over after she lost her family in a car accident. She never thought she would be forced the leave the comfort of her New York apartment to live with her mother’s college roommate, Katherine Walter, in Colorado.

To make matters worse, she will be living with twelve boys. (Well, Parker’s a girl, but she might as well be a boy.) Perfectionist Jackie’s always gone to an all girls boarding school. She’s used to uniforms, good grades and no surprises. Nothing could prepare her for the chaos of living with the Walter family. The boys are not only annoying and dirty, but incredibly handsome. Jackie’s going to have to learn how to fit into her new surroundings.

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I feel bad saying this since Jackie just lost her parents, but this book was so much fun! I wasn’t expecting that. But, just like Jackie, I couldn’t resist those Walter boys! They were cute, funny and trouble. Their high junks were exactly what I would expect if I had to live with all those boys.

My Life with the Walter Boys wasn’t just fun, though. It also had a great message about living your life in the moment and letting go. I would highly suggest this book to YA readers.

Dare to Rock

Dare to Rock (Dare to Love #7) by Carly Phillips

Publication Date: August 4, 2015


With a popular fashion and makeup video blog, no one would know that Avery Dare hates the spotlight. Avery doesn’t need fame or fortune. She’s content to live a quiet life.

Grey Kingston has achieved everything he hoped he would when he left Miami all those years ago. Along with his band, Tangled Royal, Kingston has found fame and fortune. He has everything he ever wanted — except Avery Dare. No matter how many women he has slept with, he can’t get Avery Dare out of his mind. Now that he’s ready to leave the spotlight behind, Grey is hoping they can rekindle their flame.

When Avery receives an invitation to visit Grey at one of his concerts, she’s not sure she should go. Avery still holds a special place in her heart for Grey, and she’s not sure if she’s ready to rip open that wound.

Grey knew getting Avery to believe he was ready to live a normal life would be hard, he just didn’t expect it to be this hard. He knows he hurt her, but he didn’t expect a deranged fan to stalk her. Now, it’s going to take even more to convince her that they’re meant to be.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

If you’re looking for a fun, steamy romance with a hint of rock and roll, Dare to Rock is for you. I really enjoyed Avery and Grey’s second chance at love story. They had great chemistry together and their relationship was hot, hot, hot!  My favorite part of the story was getting to know more about Avery. Having read all of the previous books in the series, it was cool to finally get her perspective on her father and the rest of the Dare clan.

Like I mentioned before, Dare to Rock is part of a series. It’s best to have read the previous novels in the series before reading Dare to Rock. The Dare family is large and close. Characters and storylines from previous books are mentioned in each book. Just to warn potential readers: Dare to Rock is a contemporary romance, but some novels in the series are erotic romances.

** I received an electronic copy of Dare to Rock from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Other books in the Dare to Love series:


Before the Blog #8: Vendetta

Before the Blog is a weekly blog meme hosted by Karis Jacobstein over @ YA Litwit. It’s an opportunity to showcase books a blogger read and loved prior to starting their blog .  I love this idea because there are so many amazing books I haven’t reviewed on A Novel Glimpse because I read them a long time ago. The only rules to this meme are to answer the following questions about the book chosen to review:

  • Why did you choose this book? 
  • When did you read this book? 
  • Who would you recommend this book to? 


Vendetta (Blood for Blood #1) by Catherine Doyle

Publication Date: February 24, 2015

Publisher: Chicken House Ltd.


Sophie Gracewell is thrown into a dangerous game of revenge when five brothers move into the long abandoned mansion in her neighborhood. Sophie is drawn to one of the brothers, Nicoli. Their families warn them to stay away from each other, but Sophie and Nicoli can’t help falling for each other. As soon as they do, Sophie will be forced to make decisions she didn’t even know existed.

Why did you choose this book?

Vendetta wasn’t what I was expecting it to be. For some reason, I was expecting a vampire story. (It’s not.) What I got was so much more interesting: a modern day Romeo and Juliet story filled with the mob. I was drawn into Sophie’s world and I honestly think this should be the next big series everyone is talking about.

When did you read this book?

In May of 2015, I saw it displayed on a library shelf. I grabbed the opportunity to read it because I had originally seen the book in BookPage magazine and thought it sounded interesting.

Who would you recommend this book to?

Anyone that enjoys a great YA series –especially with forbidden love or mob stories. So far, there are no love triangles or sex. There is some violence.

Check out my other Before the Blog posts here:

Before the Blog #1: Dear Daughter 

Before the Blog #2: There is No Light in Darkness

Before the Blog #3: The Lace Reader

Before the Blog #4: The Beach Trees

Before the Blog #5: The Raven Boys

Before the Blog #6: Waiting on You

Before the Blog #7: A Little Something Different

ARC Review: This Is One Moment

 This Is One Moment by Mila Gray

Publication Date: September 10, 2015

Publisher: Pan Macmillan


Didi’s always wanted a romance like her parents have, a romance worthy of the movies. She wants the fairytale. Didi thinks she’s found it with Hollywood heartthrob, Zac Ridgemont. He’s everything Didi thinks a man should be.

But then, while completing an internship at a military hospital, she meets Noel Walker. Walker’s wounds aren’t just on the outside, they’re on the inside as well. He’s frustrated as hell and all Didi wants is to be able to help him. Well, help him and jump his bones.

Didi knows she can’t fall for a patient. It would ruin her future career. But she can’t seem to put enough distance between herself and Walker. There’s just something about him that makes her willing to push her boundaries.

Just when Didi and Walker are beginning to act on their feelings for each other, their lives are twisted out of control. It leaves them both wondering whether their relationship is worth fighting for.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

This Is One Moment had me from the prologue. I had to know how it fit into the story. I would say it drove me continue reading, but that’s not true. The entire story is what drove me to continue reading. I loved it. It was fast-paced and deep.

While Didi’s quest for true love was sweet, it was Walker’s struggles that poked at my heart. He was dealing with so much. I hurt for him. I loved the interactions he had with Sanchez, Jose and Callum. And, of course, Walker and Didi were beyond hot.

This Is One Moment would have been a 5 star book for me had it not been for a couple of scenes toward the end of the book. I don’t want to give anything away, but Didi’s actions made me a little sick. They showed an immaturity I didn’t see from her in the rest of the book. In the end, her actions didn’t seem to matter but I think the book would have been better without them.

Overall, I found This Is One Moment to be an extremely moving book about a veteran recovering from war and finding strength to move on–and love. I loved it and hope other NA readers will as well.

**I received a digital copy of This Is One Moment from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Characters You Just Didn’t Click With

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is Ten Characters You Just Didn’t Click With. Below is my list.

Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #1)

1. Madrigal

Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor

 The story lost me at Madrigal. I loved it until her.

The Elite (The Selection, #2)2. America

The Elite by Kiera Cass

America’s debate between boys took over the story and turned me off of her and the book.

The Girl on the Train3. Rachel

The GIrl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Rachel was just ugh. I hope people wouldn’t click with her.

Scarred (Scarred, #1)4. Lexi Jones

Scarred by J.S. Cooper

Lexi’s decisions were so horrible.

Ever After (Nantucket Brides Trilogy, #3)5. Hallie Hartley

Ever After by Jude Deveraux

Hallie was a such a creeper at the beginning. Luckily, she was better by the end, but I couldn’t believe the stuff she was doing. If a guy did the same things, everyone would be enraged.

Surrender (Surrender, #1)6. Arianna

Surrender by Melody Anne

I just didn’t like her.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl7. Greg Gaines

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

Greg Gaines was so consumed with himself that it was hard to like him at times.

Confessions of a Heartbreaker8. Parker Montgomery

Confessions of a Heartbreaker by Jennifer Sucevic

Parker’s narration drove me crazy.

Zali Luna: Movie Star9. Zali Luna

Zali Luna: Movie Star by Emma Jamvold

I guess Zali was a little too immature for my tastes.

Valorous (Quantum Trilogy, #2)10. Flynn Godfrey

Valorous (Quantum Trilogy #2) by M.S. Force

In this book, Flynn lost his appeal. He became weak and over emotional.

What book characters have you had trouble connecting with?