The Mistake

The Mistake (Off-Campus, #2)The Mistake (Off-Campus #2) by Elle Kennedy

Publication Date: April 28, 2015

Publisher: Elle Kennedy

Synopsis:

Briar University hockey player John Logan is living the life — every night’s a party and a chance to hook up with another hot chick. He’s living the life while he can. Logan knows his time for fun is short. He’s got one more year until he graduates and then it’s back to reality.

Freshman Grace Ivers never expected her crush, John Logan, to randomly show up on her dorm room doorstep. And she definitely never expected to mess around with him or that he would want to hang out again. He’s way out of her league. But it did happen and Grace is all ready to hand over her V-card to him — until John proves what a jerk he really is.

John knows he messed up. If he could, he would take it all back. Now, he has to prove to Grace that he can be the guy she wants him to be. But winning Grace’s heart isn’t going to be easy. Grace isn’t a puck bunny and John’s going to have a lot of sucking up to do if he truly wants to win her back.

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

If I loved The Deal, then I’m obsessed with The Mistake. It was sooooo good! I truly couldn’t put it down. I even read it while I was curling my hair! (Gotta love reading on a Kindle!)

Elle Kennedy knows how to write her hockey heartthrobs. I didn’t think I would like John as much as I liked Garrett, but I did. I feel funny admitting it, but I loved his cockiness. It was fun to read how sure of himself he was.

To be honest, I was worried about the whole Hannah thing. I was picturing something very awkward that I wasn’t going to want to read. Luckily, that didn’t happen and we got an amazing story in John’s hook up with Grace.

Grace was a great character. Her strength to walk away and take care of herself first was awesome. Books with strong female characters, like Grace, are great examples for readers.

So…Yes, you need to read The Mistake! I don’t think you necessarily have to read The Deal first, but it does reference people and situations from it. And just like The Deal, it’s a NA novel and for mature readers only.

Other books in this series:

The Deal (Off-Campus, #1)

Bright Side

 Bright Side (Bright Side, #1)Bright Side by Kim Holden

Publication Date: July 4, 2014

Publisher: Do Epic, LLC.

Synopsis:

Kate Sedgwick is the epitome of optimism. Nothing seems to get this girl down. Which is a surprise coming from a such tough childhood. Her disposition is so sunny that she’s even earned the nickname “Bright Side” from her best friend, Gus.

Kate is about to fulfill one of her dreams. She’s leaving sunny California to go to college in cold Minnesota. It’s hard leaving her best friend, Gus, and everything she’s known, but Kate has no doubt it’s going to be amazing.

What Kate doesn’t count on is meeting Keller Banks. She’s having a really hard time not falling for him. It’s hard when he’s cute, funny and smart. Kate’s never felt this way before. She’s starting to rethink her no falling in love stance.

The closer Kate and Keller get to each other, the more each worries that the secrets their hiding may ruin everything they have with each other.

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars 

EPIC. Kim Holden does epic.

Seriously. Bright Side is one of the best books I’ve read in my entire life. It was incredibly funny, smart and sweet. It was heartbreakingly beautiful. I don’t think I have ever laughed so much or cried so hard reading a book. I haven’t read a book this inspiring since I read Me Before You by Jojo Moyes a couple of years ago. I’ve already purchased it’s sequel, Gus.

I’m not going to say anything more about the story. I think Bright Side is a book best read without knowing too much. What I will say is this:

READ THIS BOOK NOW! 

Oh, and grab a box of tissues while you’re at it. You’re probably going to need them.

Other books in this series:

Gus (Bright Side, #2)

The Deal

The Deal (Off-Campus, #1)The Deal (Off-Campus #1) by Elle Kennedy

Publication Date: February 24, 2015 

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent

Synopsis:

Hannah Wells is crushing on Briar University’s star football player in a major way. Making eye contact with him in their Ethics class is enough to turn her to mush. She just needs to get up the nerve to talk to him. If only Hannah’s past experiences with men weren’t keeping her from doing just that.

Hockey player Garrett Graham cannot afford to fail his Ethics class if he wants to keep playing for Briar. It looks like that’s exactly what’s going to happen, if he can’t talk Hannah Wells into tutoring him. Garrett was hoping his way with women could help him sway Hannah, but she’s the only girl at Briar who seems able to resist his charms.

When Garrett notices Hannah’s crush on a Briar football star, he knows he can use the knowledge to his advantage. Garrett convinces Hannah that he can help her win her crush. The plan is fool proof — until one kiss turns into more.

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The Deal will be going on my list of favorite New Adult romances. It was so much fun to read! Garrett and Hannah’s bickering was too funny.  I found myself laughing so many times.  I liked that Hannah didn’t put up with his “king of hockey” attitude and didn’t fall all over him like all of the other girls he was used to. They were so cute together. I also liked that not only was this a romance, but each of them was dealing with a deeper issue. It was cool to see them help each other through those issues.

Another thing I really loved was Garrett’s hockey team roommates. Their interactions with each other couldn’t have been more perfect! It was exactly what I would have expected from a bunch of players living together. I can’t wait to get to read more of their stories in the future! I’m starting on the next book in the series, The Mistake, right after I finish writing this!

The Deal is definitely a book I would recommend. Just a warning to readers — It is a New Adult and not YA read. There is sexual content and alcohol references, so it is for mature readers only.

Other books in the Off-Campus Series:

The Mistake (Off-Campus, #2)

Pivot Point

Pivot Point (Pivot Point, #1) Pivot Point by Kasie West

Publication Date: February 12, 2013

Publisher: HarperTeen

Synopsis: 

Addison Coleman is a Searcher. A searcher is someone who, given a choice, can look into the future and see both outcomes. Her ability has been really helpful in making good decisions. She’s hoping it will do the same with her latest choice.

When Addie’s parents tell her they are getting a divorce, they want her to use her gift to decide which one of them to live with. Choosing wouldn’t be a big deal if both of her parents planned to stay in the Compound, a secret paranormal society created for those with special abilities. But her dad is planning on living five hours away in the “Norm” world, while her mom is staying put.

Addie’s Search suggests two very different potential futures. If Addie chooses her mom, she’ll stay at the compound and continue to develop her special ability. Duke, the popular high school quarter back, will take an interest in her. She will get to hang out with her best friend for the past ten years, Laila. Nothing will really change. It should be the perfect choice, considering she loves her life.

If she moves to the Norm world with her dad, she’ll be the new girl at a regular high school. She will have to hide her abilities and make new friends. Addie will meet Trevor, an injured football player and aspiring artist, and his friends. Trevor will become her new best friend and, for the first time, she’ll feel like someone really gets her.

It’s a tough choice made tougher when her dad starts consulting on a murder case that has an effect on both futures. Addie will have to decide between the lesser of two evils.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Pivot Point is a hard book for me to review. I have a love-hate relationship with it.

It starts out in present day with Addie being given the choice to make between her parents. Once she Searches the future, the book alternates back and forth each chapter between the potential futures. When I think about it, it’s actually a really cool idea — BUT (and that’s a big but) I liked one potential future way more than I liked the other. That made it very annoying each time I switched from the future I liked to the one I didn’t. I would just be getting sucked into the story, only to have to read one I didn’t really like. It was frustrating. I hated it.

That being said, after reading the entire book, I get why Kasie West set it up the way she did. It was actually perfect. I was able to see how the same events could affect both futures. It made the ending all that more powerful. Kasey West just might have used her special abilities to make me like one side of the story more than the other…

Now for what I absolutely loved: Kasie West’s writing. She had me laughing from the beginning with “hotlicious.”  I loved Addie and her parents. I liked how they were a bigger part of the story than most YA fiction parents. I don’t think Kasie West could have picked better abilities for them. I know this was more of a fantasy/science fiction YA novel, but I found it to be a really great contemporary romance read as well.

When I finished reading and closed the cover, I felt torn. I loved so much of this book. I totally would have given it 5 stars, but I just kept thinking of my frustration at times. Even though I know the parts I hated help make the story stronger, I couldn’t get past the fact that I didn’t like them. That’s why I took away a star. I still highly recommend reading it. I think it has a little something everyone will like: romance, science fiction, fantasy, mystery, family relationships.

I’m looking forward to starting on the sequel Split Second soon. I can’t wait to see what is in store for Addie next.

Note: I wasn’t going to review Pivot Point until next week, but I noticed the ebook is on sale for $1.99 right now! I wanted to make sure you would be able to take advantage of the deal if you’re interested in reading it. Download it from your favorite ebook provider now!

Other books in this series:

What a Girl Wants

What a Girl Wants (Fillmore & Greenwich, #1)What a Girl Wants (Fillmore & Greenwich) by Kate Perry

Publication Date : June 15, 2015

Publisher: Phoenix Rising Enterprises, Inc. 

Synopsis:

Ariana Warren has always felt like she didn’t quite fit in her family. Her father, mother and sister all found their talents early and quickly. Ariana has spent years searching for hers, but she’s finally found it in her natural skin care line. She loves her small business. If only that was good enough for her businessman father. But it’s not and now he’s sicking his business associate on her.

Sebastian Tate has returned to the U.S. from his extended visit to London to fulfil a debt to an old business partner. Edward Warren wants Sebastian to help his daughter, Ariana, expand her skin care line. Once he sees the skin care line, Sebastian knows he can accomplish this goal — if only Ariana was willing to accept his help…and his love.

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Kate Perry never fails at delivering books that make me smile. Her stories always make me happy. They’re filled with fun, interesting and sometimes odd characters. I love how they’re always finding their happily ever after, while also finding themselves at the same time. I also really enjoy how Perry always works in a secondary love story into her novels.

As for What a Girl Wants, it was fun getting to know Sebastian from the Summerhill Series a little better. He always seemed like he might be hiding something in that series and it was finally nice to find out what that was. I liked how his business minded personality melded with Ariana’s free spirit approach to life. I would have liked to read even more of his life in the novel. The storyline mainly revolved around Ariana.

Ariana was definitely my favorite character in What a Girl Wants. I liked the storyline involving her family as much as I liked seeing her falling in love with Sebastian. It was really cool to see how her family viewed her compared to how Ariana viewed herself. I think there are a ton of people who can identify with the feelings Ariana had.

I also thought Esme the psychic was a cool addition to the story. I’m looking forward to seeing what she has in store for the characters in future Fillmore & Greenwich books. I can’t wait to read about George, the mechanic.

Honestly, you can’t go wrong with a Kate Perry contemporary romance novel. They’re filled with great relationships, laughs and some fun, steamy scenes. Not to mention, they always end with a happily ever after. I like that even though they’re part of a series with related characters, you can easily read each novel as a standalone.

I would like to say thank you to Kate Perry for the opportunity to read and honestly review an ARC of What a Girl Wants.

Red Queen

Red Queen (Red Queen, #1)Red Queen (Red Queen #1)  by Victoria Aveyard

Publication Date: February 10, 2015

Publisher: Orien

Synopsis:

Mare Barrow is a Red. If they’re skilled, Reds spend their lives working for the superior and magical Silvers. If they’re not, they go to the front lines of the war. Mare knows she’s not skilled — unless you count thievery. That particular skill won’t get her a job, so she knows her time is running out before she goes to war. Unless she can find a way to avoid the war, Mare knows her death is imminent.

Unexpectedly, Mare finds herself working at the Silvers’ palace. She feels horrible working for the group that oppresses her people, but can’t help but feel good that she’s finally making her parents proud. Those feelings become even more confusing when Mares discovers a hidden talent. As she learns more about herself and the Silver world, Mare realizes she has more power than she ever thought. But power can be dangerous and knowing who can be trusted is difficult.

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Red Queen has been showing up constantly in my Goodreads Updates feed. It seems like just about everyone I follow there has read it and loved it. I have been putting off reading it for a while because I wasn’t sure it would be something I would enjoy. I’m not big into the dystopian fantasy genre–especially prince and princess type novels. I have a really hard time buying into the “I love my poor male best friend…but I also love this new prince I’ve just met” love triangles that seem to pop up in most of them. But I finally decided to cave and read Red Queen last week.

I’m glad I did. Red Queen was different than what I was expecting. It grabbed my attention from the beginning and kept it throughout.

I loved the setting, the characters and the writing. Victoria Aveyard did an amazing job creating an interesting society filled with magical abilities. I felt like I could picture her cities in my mind. Her characters were complex and it was fun waiting to see what they were going to do next. I even enjoyed reading about the evil Silvers.

One of my favorite things about the book was that despite the fact it had a love square (Can’t be a triangle with four points, can it?), romance wasn’t the focus of the story. Red Queen focused not on who Mare was going to fall for but how each relationship shaped her choices and the path she took. It was all about the Red versus Silver plight. That was refreshing.

The only thing that drove me nuts was the main character’s name. Mare Barrow. Every time I read Mare Barrow, I thought Bone Marrow. I kept wanting to call her Bone. Which, when you think of it, makes total sense with all the references she makes to bleeding red.

Red Queen is a book YA dystopian fans are sure to love. It’s fast paced, full of action and the cliffhanger ending leaves you begging for the next book to come out as soon as possible. I can totally see a movie version in the future.

Amber to Ashes

Amber to Ashes (Torn Hearts, #1)Amber to Ashes (Torn Hearts #1) by Gail McHugh

Publication Date: June 9, 2015

Publisher: Atria Books

Synopsis: 

Amber Moretti made it through a tough childhood, one horrible moment defining her entire existence. Now, thanks to her amazing foster parents, Amber’s starting college and getting a chance to start her life over. No one there will know about her past. Nor will they know how she used to escape from the memories that still haunt her.

But just as one moment defined her childhood, another moment will define her life now. When Amber walked into the college dining hall, she never expected to meet and connect deeply with one man, let alone two. She’s always kept herself emotionally unavailable to men, but she can’t help but need both of them now.

Brock Cunningham and Ryder Ashcroft may be completely different in looks and attitude, but they both want Amber in the same intense way. Brock is the hunky football player that every girl wants. Amber can’t help but be attracted to his slick words and the way he wants to be everything she needs. Ryder is Brock’s opposite. He’s tough, tattooed and pierced. His every word disgusts Amber….until he kisses her. Then, she feels powerless to his touch.

Quickly, Amber finds herself falling for these two men. She knows she can’t possibly be in love with each of them, but she finds it harder and harder to fight her feelings for them. Amber knows she’ll be forced to choose to between Brock and Ryder, but she has no idea what would lead up to her decision.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Um….Wow. I’m not quite sure what my reaction should be after reading Amber to Ashes. This book was so gritty, dirty and all sorts of messed up…but I think I liked it. It’s hard to say because, while I was really disturbed by most of the story, I couldn’t put the book down. It was crazy. Every time I thought the story couldn’t get any more disturbing, it did.

I wanted to know how everything was going to play out for Amber and her need for both Brock and Ryder. Each character was so messed up with their own issues that all together they were just one gigantic disaster waiting to happen. I couldn’t see how this could end positively for any of them.

I really liked how most of the book was in Amber’s POV, but that I also got a sprinkling of Brock and Ryder’s as well. That really helped shape their relationships with each other — especially Brock and Ryder’s relationship. Which was a good thing, considering how Amber felt about both of them.

My least favorite parts of the book were the violent ones because I’m just not into violence. BUT I will admit the violent parts were a good addition to the storyline. They made this more than just a love triangle story.

The ending, though. The ending killed me! What a cliffhanger! I’ll definitely be reading the next book because I have to know what happens.

If you’re interested in reading this book, I’d just warn you ahead of time to be prepared for a lot of sexually explicit encounters (one F/M/M), violence, and drug use. The story will suck you in and then twist and turn in ways you aren’t expecting. It’s an entertaining read, but in it gets messier and messier the deeper into the book you go. It’s definitely not for someone expecting a HEA filled with sunshine, rainbows or unicorns.

Thank you to Atria Books for the opportunity to read and honestly review Amber to Ashes.

The Sound of Glass

The Sound of GlassThe Sound of Glass by Karen White

Publication Date: May 12, 2015

Publisher: NAL

Synopsis:

In The Sound of Glass, young widow Merritt Heyward inherits the childhood home of her dead husband, Cal. Merritt abandons her life in Maine to move to Beaufort, SC, where she hopes to learn more about the husband she lost. Before she can even move into her new home, her step-mother and the half-brother she’s never met show up, complicating Merritt’s life even further. Together, they begin to unravel Cal’s past and learn to be a family again.

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

It’s hard to pick out one favorite thing about The Sound of Glass. I truly loved everything about it. The narration moved smoothly between the three narrators: Merritt, Loralee and Edith. The combination of the plane mystery and the family relationships made the novel fast paced and hard to put down.

Although, I do have to admit I had a favorite character. I adored Loralee and her Journal of Truths entries. Her wisdom was refreshing. I also liked that she saw the best parts of Merritt and wanted more for her. I was inspired by how Loralee dealt with the hand she was given in life and how she was raising her son, Owen.

Merrit was a character I had a love/hate relationship with. Just when I would be annoyed with her actions and start to dislike her, she would explain herself or Loralee would think of something her husband had told her about Merritt and I would like her again. Seeing her growth throughout the entire novel was very fulfilling.

Edith’s glimpses of the past really shaped how I saw not just Heyward family, but Cal and Merritt’s relationship as well. I liked how her perspective helped tie the whole story together.

The only thing more that I wanted out of Karen White was a chance to hear a part of the story through Gibbes’ POV. There must have been so much running through his mind! He was such a cool character.

The Sound of Glass is one of the best books I’ve read so far this year. That doesn’t surprise me, as I always love anything Karen White writes. She truly knows how to mix mystery, romance, family and the Southern landscape into beautifully heartbreaking and fulfilling tales. I would highly recommend any of her novels.

unDefeated

unDefeated (Wayward Fighters, #3)unDefeated (Wayward Fighters, #3) by J.C. Valentine

Publication Date: May 26, 2015

Publisher: J.C. Valentine

Synopsis:

Undefeated is the third book in the Wayward Fighters Series. The story continues from the end of Tapout and is in Spencer and Olivia’s POV’s.

Spencer’s trip to rehab has finally brought him to terms with the gambling addiction that ruined every good relationship he had. His goal now is to stay away from those he loves and prevent them from facing any future harm his addiction could bring. But when he has no where else to go after rehab ends, he find himself on Olivia’s doorstep.

Olivia tried to give Spencer the support he needed to face his addictions. He made it pretty obvious he didn’t want anything from her. So when Spencer shows up on Olivia’s doorstep, she hopes it will bring them closer together. But Olivia has demons of her own and her insecurities with their relationship may cause her to self-destruct. Will their relationship give them the strength they need to survive their addictions or cause them both to spiral out of control?

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

In the previous books in the Wayward Fighters Series, it was hard to find anything redeeming in Spencer. He caused so much pain for Jami, Ally and Olivia. I wondered if I was going to like reading unDefeated with him as one of the narrators. I was pleasantly surprised to find that, while I didn’t absolutely love him, I didn’t hate him so much anymore. I may have actually started to like him by the end! Reading from Spencer’s POV about his background and his struggles with his addiction made him more human and less of a monster. The way he tried to take care of Olivia in her lowest points, really helped redeem him. I could finally see what she saw in him. I loved how their relationship started bringing out the best in each of them. I also loved the way he dealt with the fall out of his actions and their impact on his relationship with his best friend, Jami.

Overall, unDefeated was a great story about love, friendship and the ongoing struggle with addiction. I think fans of the series will be extremely happy with Spencer and Olivia’s story of redemption.

Other books in the Wayward Fighters series by J.C. Valentine:

Knockout (Wayward Fighters, #1)  Tapout (Wayward Fighters, #2)

On the Fence

On the Fence

On the Fence by Kasie West

Publication Date: July 1, 2014

Publisher: Harper Teen

Synopsis:

It’s no surprise that sixteen year-old Charlotte “Charlie” Reynolds is a tomboy. She’s been competing against her three older brothers and neighbor, Braden, in every physical competition they can come up with her entire life. Her single father hasn’t been much help in all things girly either. Charlie knows nothing about clothes or makeup. She’s completely fine with that until one too many speeding tickets forces her to get a job at a boutique.

Working at the boutique opens up a whole new feminine world to Charlie. Not only is she learning about fashion, she’s making female friends. Charlie even meets a boy that’s interested in her and not just competing against her.

But Charlie isn’t completely comfortable with the changes she’s making and finds herself hiding her new found femininity from those closest to her. When hiding becomes too much for her, Charlie finds herself confiding in Braden. Their late-night talks have Charlie wondering if she wants more than friendship with Braden.

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I absolutely loved On the Fence. It had me laughing from the very beginning. Charlie and her brothers were hilarious. It was so much fun to read their competitions with each other. It was also easy for me to identify with Charlie. I may not have been quite the tomboy she was, but I’ve never been big on wearing makeup. I can remember wearing it for the first time and looking into the mirror. I’m pretty sure I felt just as awkward as Charlie!

Kasie West has quickly become one of my favorite YA contemporary romance authors. I honestly couldn’t put this book down. It was cute and funny. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a nice, fun read to brighten their day. You won’t stop smiling the entire time you read it. It’s also very appropriate for any age reader. There’s no sex or even talk about it in this one.