Review: Jordan Reclaimed (Scarlett Cole)

Jordan Reclaimed
Series: Preload, #1
Author: Scarlett Cole
Publication Date: February 28, 2017
Publisher: Swerve
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Sports, Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

He’s a rockstar, she’s a ballerina, they’re worlds apart yet just what the other needs.

Jordan Steele’s life began when he was ten. When he was taken from his parents and a house that was never a home. When he met his brothers, the other lost and abandoned boys in his group home. When he learned what friendship and family and love looked like.

Now he’s made a career out of playing the music he loves, touring the world with the band he and his brothers formed in that crowded group home. No one but his found family really knows the man under the fame and fortune, the scars he hides behind the rockstar lifestyle. Until he sees her through the windows of the National Ballet, dancing, and suddenly the world doesn’t seem so dark.

Aleksandra Artemov ticks all the ballet boxes. Father a legendary Kirov dancer. Check. Prepping since birth for classical ballet. Check. Compulsive control over the food she eats. Check. Principal dancer at The National Ballet of Canada. Check. But what she craves is freedom.

She craves Jordan.

Everything about him should terrify her. His size, his tattoos, his hard rock edge. But he doesn’t. He stirs her very soul. Jordan has nothing but himself to offer her, and he’s never been good enough for anyone. Can he figure out how to face his own demons before he loses his light for good?


Jordan Reclaimed is one of those books I most likely wouldn’t have picked up based on the blurb. I’m not usually into books starring ballerinas. I have no idea why, but they don’t make me pick up a book. I picked this one up because my friend Lenore from Celebrity Readers recommended it to me. I’m so happy she did because I truly enjoyed this book.

Jordan Reclaimed deals with heavy topics like child abuse and eating disorders. It could have been a very angst filled read, but it wasn’t. There was just the right amount of angst and lightness. There was also a ton of heart in it. It was very well written and a great introduction to Scarlett Cole’s writing for me.

Jordan had such a devastating story. The guy had been through some of the most horrible things. My heart broke for him. I adored his relationship with his “brothers” and bandmates. The way they came together and supported each other was fantastic. Jordan meeting Lexi added to his support group and made him grow in the best way possible.

Lexi didn’t go through quite the horrors that Jordan had, but she had issues of her own with a demanding father and career. (I actually enjoyed the look at the ballet world that I got more than I expected to.) From a readers perspective, it almost felt like Lexi had nothing of her own until she met Jordan.

Jordan and Lexi had great chemistry. I liked how they contrasted each other. Lexi felt like light while Jordan felt like darkness. Somehow their differences made them more compatible than I thought they would be. I loved how they were able to read each other so well, push when they needed to push, and pulled back when they needed to give space. It was such a well written and thought out love story.

I mentioned the band for a moment above, but there is so much more to say about the guys from Preload. None of them had it easy growing up and their bonds were some of the tightest I’ve read. They got each other in very specific ways and you could see how important their friendship brotherhood was to them. I loved how they were able to tease each other and boost each other up. It was all very sweet.

There wasn’t much about this book that I didn’t love. If I have to point out something, I would say that I didn’t love that it was written in third person. There were some places where the story switched from one POV to another without a chapter change or heading that threw me off. There was also a Pretty Woman moment that felt weird and, well, too Pretty Woman for me. Nothing that was a huge deal or took away from my love of the characters and their romance.

I’m very thankful to Lenore for recommending Jordan Reclaimed to me. I enjoyed it so much that I am immediately jumping into reading the second book in the series. I feel a series binge coming on…

Review: I’ll Be the One (Lyla Lee)

I’ll Be the One
Series: I’ll Be the One, #1
Author: Lyla Lee
Publication Date: June 16, 2020
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Contemporary, Romance, LGBTQ+
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

The world of K-Pop has never met a star like this. Debut author Lyla Lee delivers a deliciously fun, thoughtful rom-com celebrating confidence and body positivity—perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Julie Murphy.

Skye Shin has heard it all. Fat girls shouldn’t dance. Wear bright colors. Shouldn’t call attention to themselves. But Skye dreams of joining the glittering world of K-Pop, and to do that, she’s about to break all the rules that society, the media, and even her own mother, have set for girls like her.

She’ll challenge thousands of other performers in an internationally televised competition looking for the next K-pop star, and she’ll do it better than anyone else.

When Skye nails her audition, she’s immediately swept into a whirlwind of countless practices, shocking performances, and the drama that comes with reality TV. What she doesn’t count on are the highly fat-phobic beauty standards of the Korean pop entertainment industry, her sudden media fame and scrutiny, or the sparks that soon fly with her fellow competitor, Henry Cho.

But Skye has her sights on becoming the world’s first plus-sized K-pop star, and that means winning the competition—without losing herself.


The first thing that drew me to I’ll Be the One is the fabulous cover. The colors and the model just pop off it. There’s such joy in the model’s face, that I couldn’t help be drawn to this book. I wanted to feel her joy and know what she was so happy about. The second thing that caught my attention was blurb. I loved that there was going to be a message about body positivity. Third, I know very little about K-pop and I wanted to learn more.

Skye Shin was a character who couldn’t help but shine. She was upbeat and positive when she could have been sullen and feeling sorry for herself. I loved that she didn’t let her weight define her or hold her back from her dreams. That’s a super important thing for teens who are reading this book to takeaway from it — adults, too.

The relationship between Sky and her mom fascinated me. I got where Skye was coming from, but I could also see where her mom was too. (Not that I agreed with how she conveyed her opinions most of the time.) It really made me think about how I talk to my own preteen daughter about weight or really anything. I liked how their issues were examined and how things ended up at the end.

Henry… I loved his character. He was slightly mysterious and very sweet. Skye’s friendship/relationship with him was exactly what she needed and I loved how it had drama, but wasn’t crazy over the top. The way the competition fueled their interactions was really cool. Plus, Snowball. That dog was awesome.

Skye also had some amazing friends in this book. They all lifted Skye up and kept her going when parents, competitors, judges, and people in general judged her. I especially loved Lana.

Earlier I said something about wanting to learn more about K-pop. I don’t know that I really learned a lot about it in this book. Most of the plot was based around the competition TV show and not K-pop specifically. I did like the competition. It reminded me of a combination of So You Think You Can Dance and The Voice. What did I end up learning more about was Korean culture. I loved that.

I could go on and on about how fabulous I’ll Be the One was. I adored every minute of the time I got to spend with Skye and her friends. I cannot recommend this book enough!

Review: Getting Hotter by Elle Kennedy

Getting Hotter
Series: Out of Uniform
Author: Elle Kennedy
Publication Date: January 29, 2018 (re-release)
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Military
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

A good bad boy is hard to find…

Seth Masterson has been lusting over Miranda Breslin since the moment he saw her on a Vegas stage. Now that he’s been asked to watch out for her as she opens a dance studio in San Diego, he’s all over it, figuring it’s his chance to get her in his bed. Except the stubborn single mom seems determined to deny their sizzling sexual chemistry. In typical SEAL fashion, Seth makes it his personal mission to prove her wrong.

Miranda got over her attraction to bad boys about the time one of them knocked her up at the age of eighteen. Seth’s mocking gray eyes and military-buff bod, though, are pure and utter temptation. And when a flooded apartment forces her and her twins to move in with him, she can no longer resist the urge to set off some serious fireworks between the sheets.

But any involvement with Seth will be strictly physical—and temporary. So when Seth decides permanent is what he wants, Miranda must steel her defenses before she does something incredibly foolish…like fall in love.


I’ve been a fan of Elle Kennedy’s new adult romances for years, but I don’t think I’ve ever read one of her contemporary romances. Getting Hotter was the first for me, and I really enjoyed it.

Unlike Kennedy’s new adult books that are written in first person, Getting Hotter was written in third person. Third person is not my favorite way for a book to be written in, so I wasn’t sure if I was going to like that. I honestly didn’t really even notice it. Kennedy’s writing is so well done, that it felt like I was reading in first person. I was able to connect quickly with her characters and fall almost immediately in love with them.

Miranda was one tough chick. She was a single mom to twins she’s birthed when she was eighteen. Miranda had to work hard to support herself and her family. She worked two jobs and wasn’t willing to waste her time on someone who wasn’t worth it. I loved how she valued herself.

Seth was also tough, but in a different way. He was a Navy SEAL, so he had the whole badass strength going on for him, but he was tough mentally. Seth was able to wall a part of himself off. That wasn’t a great thing, but I loved seeing Miranda break down his defenses. They were a great match. I loved them together, and their chemistry was palpable.

One of the components to Seth and Miranda’s relationship was the fact that she was a single mother. That wasn’t Seth’s favorite thing. It was hard reading his interactions with the twins at first. Those two six year-olds were hard not to fall in love with. They were so dang cute, and one of my favorite things about this story. I loved how Seth slowly started to fall for them as hard as he fell for their mother.

My only disappointment in Getting Hotter was Dylan’s part in it. Dylan was Seth’s roommate who also had a side story of his own going on in the book. I wasn’t disappointed in the side story. It was exactly the opposite. I wanted more of it, and I was left hanging. His story had barely began when Getting Hotter ended. I was bummed by that. At least I know it means there is more to come for him in a future release. 😉

Getting Hotter was a fun, steamy contemporary romance. I loved the characters and their story. I’m looking forward to going back and reading more of this series.

Review: Four Seconds to Lose by K.A. Tucker

17571140Four Seconds to Lose

Series: Ten Tiny Breaths, #3

Author: K.A. Tucker

Publication Date: November 4, 2013

Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense

Goodreads Synopsis:

When a gorgeous young dancer walks through his door, a strip club owner must decide whether to follow his rules or his heart in the third novel by the author of One Tiny Lie and Ten Tiny Breaths.

Owning a strip club isn’t the fantasy most guys expect it to be. With long hours, a staff with enough issues to keep a psych ward in business, and the police regularly on his case, twenty-nine-year-old Cain is starting to second guess his unspoken mission to save the women he employs. And then blond, brown-eyed Charlie Rourke walks through his door, and things get really complicated. Cain abides by a strict “no sleeping with the staff” rule. But being around Charlie challenges Cain’s self-control… and it’s been a long time since any woman has done that.

Twenty-two-year-old Charlie Rourke needs a lot of money, really fast, in order to vanish before it’s too late. Taking her clothes off for men makes her stomach curl but Charlie tells herself that at least she’s putting her acting and dancing skills to good use. And though her fellow dancers seem eager to nab their sexy, sophisticated, and genuinely caring boss, she’s not interested. After all, Charlie Rourke doesn’t really exist—and the girl pretending to be her can’t get distracted by romance.

Unfortunately, Charlie soon discovers that developing feelings for Cain is inevitable, and that those feelings may not be unrequited—but losing him when he finds out what she’s involved with will be more painful than any other sentence awaiting her.


  ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


I’ve been slowly making my way through reading K.A. Tucker’s Ten Tiny Breaths series. I absolutely loved the first two books, Ten Tiny Breaths and One Tiny Lie, so I was excited to learn more about Kasey’s ex-boss, Cain.

Cain is the owner of Penny’s, a classy strip club in Miami. He makes it his business to hire and help turnaround women’s lives. When gorgeous Charlie walks into his club looking for work, Cain feels a spark that he hasn’t felt for a long, long time. He knows he shouldn’t hire her, but he can’t help himself. Night after night, Cain does what he’s never done before. He watches Charlie strip. She seems to be putting a show just for him.

Charlie knows she’s shouldn’t act on her attraction to Cain. She has too many secrets that keep her from having a real relationship. But she can’t seem to stop herself from seducing him on the dance floor every night.

The closer Cain and Charlie get, the closer Charlie’s secrets get to destroying their relationship.

Cain was such an amazing character. I loved the way he took the bad in his life and tried to turn it into good. He did so many awesome things for so many women. Charlie was a mystery to start with. I loved the way the author built up her story and slowly revealed things to the reader.

Four Seconds to Lose was a really fun book to read. Cain and Charlie’s love story was sweet and incredibly sexy. The suspense aspect of the book was very cool and had me reading even when I should have been in bed. I loved this addition to the series and I can’t wait to see what’s up for Ben in the next book.

Review: Friday Night Players by Michelle DiCeglio

29846905Friday Night Players

Author: Michelle DiCeglio

Publication Date: April 4, 2016

Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Fiction

Note: I received an electronic copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Fans of Glee, Pitch Perfect, and So You Think You Can Dance will fall in love with this in depth look at what it’s like to find yourself while pretending to be someone else.

“My heart began to race. Was all this applause really for me? I felt a nudge from behind me and stepped forward. The audience began banging on their tables, and I heard a few cat calls from the side of the stage. The more I let the performance rush linger, the more I realized I wanted to do this as often as I could.”

It’s a typical Friday night for “River Dancer,” who initially joined dance troupe Friday Night Players to get closer to “Siren,” the troupe’s leading female performer. When River learns that Siren is dating another member of FNP, however, he must decide where his loyalties lie: with the troupe or with his heart.


  ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆


I’ll be the first to admit I’m a huge fan of both Glee, the Pitch Perfect franchise and So You Think You Can Dance. So when I saw the blurb began with a nod to those masterpieces, I was curious. Would I love Friday Night Players as much as I loved those fan favorites?

Friday Night Players started out with a very strong and mysterious first chapter. I was just as intrigued as River was with beautiful Siren. After that chapter, the story lost my interest until about 1/3 of the way in. I just didn’t connect with the characters as much as I wanted to.

River, as a main character, was kind of a mystery throughout the book. I never really felt like I got to know him. I knew all about his attraction for Siren and what he thought about the Friday Night Players (FNP), but I didn’t really get to know him and what made him tick.

Sultry Siren was a horrible person. I couldn’t stand the love triangle she created between herself, River and Spence. River worshipped her, but she used him. He just chose not to see it because he was so infatuated by her.

The rest of the supporting characters were an interesting bunch. They were a cool and unique family. My favorite was Ginny. She may have been disgruntled, but she stirred things up and brought so much to the story.

Friday Night Players had a really cool performance element to it. The characters’ confidence and abilities shown through in these scenes. I’m just not quite sure I would have compared it to Glee or the Pitch Perfect franchise, though. That made me compare it to those shows and expect an upbeat, funny comedy. Friday Night Players was all about the drama.

Friday Night Players was an interesting, dramatic story. There were parts of it I really enjoyed and other parts (love triangle) that I didn’t. Overall, it’s a fun read for readers who love the performance arts.

 

 

Review: Dancing on a Moonbeam Part 3 by Kate Perry

28953771Title: Dancing on a Moonbeam Part 3

Series: Bedford Falls, #3

Author: Kate Perry

Publication Date: March 9, 2016

Publisher: Firelight and Fairydust Unlimited

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Chick Lit

Goodreads Synopsis:

Eleanor Westwood and her neighbor Max have a deal to help each other—one they sealed with more than a kiss.

Which is a problem, because what was supposed to be a simple deal becomes so much more as Eleanor lets Max dance his way into her heart. It should be win-win, except Eleanor isn’t sure she can ever be triumphant in love…


5 / 5 Stars


Dancing on a Moonbeam Part 3 is the conclusion of Eleanor and Max’s story. (You can find reviews for Part 1 here and Part 2 here.) Eleanor is still trying to find herself. She thinks she wants to run a dance studio, but everyone else thinks she should be choreographing. Her relationship with her daughter Lily is still on the outs and she’s worried they’ll never reconnect. Eleanor’s also worried about giving her heart to Max, who she knows will be returning to L.A. soon.

Max’s dream to compose movies is about to come true. Only, he’s not sure if it’s what he wants anymore. He finds himself falling more deeply in love with Eleanor every day…and her daughter Lily, too. Will he be able to return to L.A. and leave them behind?

This mature second chance romance was sweet and inspiring. Max and Eleanor’s relationship felt real and was relatable. I loved the way Perry worked Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are into the story. It was perfect and suited her Max so well. Kate Perry couldn’t have wrapped up Dancing on a Moonbeam more perfectly.

**I received an electronic copy of Dancing on a Moonbeam Part 3 from the author in exchange for an honest review.