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.