Calm Like Home

Calm Like Home - Kaisa ClarkCalm Like Home by Kaisa Clark

Publication Date: July 15, 2015

Publisher: Kaisa Clark

Synopsis:

Alexa Clausen looks forward to her summers waiting tables. It may or may not have to do with the fact she gets to work with the gorgeous Adam Westbrook. She’s decided this is the summer for her chance with him–if only she can get up the nerve to show him she’s interested.

Alexa didn’t have to worry, though; Adam is definitely interested in her. Every minute with his infectious smile is exciting and fun. Alexa never knew she could fall so hard or so fast for someone. The only problem is Alexa feels like there’s something missing. Adam seems to be hiding something. She’s determined to break down his walls and learn everything there is to know about him, if Adam will let her.

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Oh, my goodness. This book was so easy to identify with. It felt like a flashback to my college days. Seriously. At the time, I worked in a restaurant and my apartment had a pool. I didn’t have a relationship with anyone from work, but I did hang with my co-workers. I remember the camaraderie between us. It was just like the banter the author created between the characters in Calm Like Home. Their exchanges were so much fun to read!

I also remember it being a tough time relationship wise — the insecurity and always wondering where I stood in relationships. So many of Alexa’s emotions in this book were mine back then. Really, the ups and downs of the story couldn’t have been more perfect. Kaisa Clark did an amazing job writing a relationship where one person isn’t willing to share all of themselves with the other person. Every emotion in the story felt genuine. The story was sweet, but very real and raw. I loved it.

My only complaint with Calm Like Home is that it ended before I wanted to be done reading it. I wanted more Alexa and Adam! (I know, I know. That’s not really a complaint.) I would highly suggest it to readers that love emotionally packed NA romances. The sex scenes are not descriptive, so it would even be safe for a less mature reader.

Thank you to Kaisa Clark for the opportunity to read and honestly review Calm Like Home.

Tamed

 Tamed (Tangled, #3)Tamed (The Tangled Series #3) by Emma Chase

Publication Date: July 15, 2014

Publisher: Gallery Books

Synopsis:

Matthew is a player, but he’s an honest player. He has no problem letting the women he hooks up with know he’s not interested in more than one night. Well, at least he wasn’t until he met Dee. Dee blew his mind and Matthew wants more than one night with her. Convincing Dee is a lot harder than it sounds, though. Dee’s dealt with her fair share of jerks and isn’t so sure more than one night with Matthew is a good idea. But when phenomenal sex is at stake, Matthew can be pretty persuasive.

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Tamed was one of the books I picked up on my trip to Portland’s Powell’s City of Books last weekend. I was drawn to it first by it’s cute cover. When I skimmed the description it sounded like a fun read.

It was totally a fun read. Tamed is written completely in Matthew’s POV and instead of just being what he’s thinking as he’s going through the story, he’s actually telling you the story. His take on relationships and the dating tips on men he hands out made me crack up. It felt like I was being told a story by a male friend.

I really liked Matthew. He was a self-confessed player, but he was also so much more than that. I loved his relationships with his friends and family. Dee was a cool character I would want to be friends with. I loved her craziness. Together they were just so darn adorable.

I would highly suggest Tamed if you’re looking for a fast-paced, fun, steamy read. It’s the third book in The Tangled Series, but it can be read as a standalone novel. I hadn’t read the previous books and it didn’t matter at all. The first two books are another couple in the book, but Tamed takes places concurrently with the first book in the series and it doesn’t really give away much. I’m really looking forward to going back and reading the first two books now. I already have them on hold at the library!

Oh! I almost forgot! I also got a bonus short story at the end of the book called Holy Frigging Matrimony. It’s a novella update to the first book in the series. It was really cute as well.

Other books in this series:

Tangled (Tangled, #1)   Holy Frigging Matrimony: A Tangled Series Short Story (Tangled, #1.5)  Twisted (Tangled, #2)

Sincerely, Carter

Sincerely, Carter Sincerely, Carter by Whitney Gracia Williams

Publication Date: April 29, 2015

Publisher: WGW Books

Synopsis:

Arizona Turner and Carter James have been best friends since 5th 4th grade.They tell each other everything. Arizona knows all about Carter’s sexual exploits and he knows all about her relationships. They would do anything for each other at the drop of a hat.

Over the years, everyone has always assumed they have slept together. How could a guy and a girl possible be just friends? The truth is they have always only been platonic best friends.  And they would never ever cross the line with each other.

Until one night they do. Then, Arizona and Carter are left trying to figure out if they are really just friends or something more.

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I love, love, love this book. I love it. Sincerely, Carter was everything I like a book to be. It was funny. It was sweet. It was hot. It brought out the all the “feels”. I adored Arizona and Carter’s relationship. I loved watching their relationship change and all their uncertainty. This book was just so much fun to me. I didn’t want to put it down. I wish I wasn’t finished reading it because I want more!  I am going to have to go through Whitney Gracia William’s back list and read more of her books.

Sincerely, Carter is a New Adult book and for mature readers only. There is sex and alcohol in the story.

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)

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.